ALFA is a youth based and youth led organization. We understand the plight of young people and hence develop their capacities by involving them in all other interventions of ALFA. We conduct sessions, workshops, trainings, film screenings and seminars for young people to make them future leaders and change makers. Each one of them has infinite source of energy to make this world a better place to live.
It is well documented that India is witnessing a demographic shift, quickly becoming one of the youngest countries in the world. It is home to one of the largest and fastest growing youth populations, with 40% of India's inhabitants aged between 18 and 35 years. At ALFA, we believe that it is crucial to recognize the youth as autonomous change agents who have the energy, passion and creativity to make a difference to society rather than merely workers or consumers. ALFA maintains that by creating a '5th space' that is safe, empowering and inclusive and through facilitating cross border relationships amongst young people we can bring the youth together and create an awareness about the society they live in and its social, economic and political issues. ALFA's Youth Engagement Program will focus on school and collage youth in the age group 16 to 25 enabling youths to undergo a learning journey through Youth Resource Centres and ultimately building a group of young change makers equipped to make changes in both their own lives and in their communities. The program aims to foster self-development of the youth through life skills education, build social awareness, develop community leadership and challenge socio cultural boundaries though encouraging friendships between people of diverse backgrounds.
A common collective space will be created for young people to come and learn and engage in activities such as: newspaper reading and discussions, health awareness activities, leadership and trust building activities, exposure visits to neighbouring communities, film screenings, cultural activities with foreign interns, field games, community volunteer projects, guest lectures, career guidance and educational classes on computer, English and Hindi languages.
ALFA is constantly striving to identify the needs of the communities and needs within the organization itself. Once needs have been identified ALFA conducts capacity building training exercises in order to insure that ALFA community members are well equipped to tackle specific problems in the future. Additionally, ALFA places great importance on developing leadership skills amongst the youth leaders so that they can effectively facilitate and mentor other youths in the community. ALFA believes in creating social change makers and several of these change makers have come out of various trainings and workshops.
The Youth Advocacy and Fellowship Program aims to increase female education in the community by encouraging them to enrol in schools, colleges and universities. Through ALFA five fellows worked and successfully secured 300 girls a place in local schools and 50 women in colleges and universities. This program is currently being expanded and will have a great impact on the society, bringing a significant social change.
ALFA is currently running a “Youth Advocacy Fellowship” program in which ALFA is training young women/fellows from underprivileged Adivasi backgrounds to become education and women’s rights advocates in the Kherwara block. These fellows are receiving training from ALFA to increase their self-confidence, leadership, and managerial capacities to enable them to solve social problems in their communities. These fellows spend the majority of their time convincing families to enrol their primary-aged girls in school and young women in universities. Fellows will also mentor young women from underprivileged Adivasi backgrounds and help place them in universities, colleges, and/or skill-based training programs. Upon completing of this 1-year program, fellows will have the knowledge and skills necessary to enact lasting change in their local communities.
ALFA have secured three youth centres within the Kherwara block conducting programs with many youths each week. The establishment of ALFA youth centres are a positive presence in the community representing a place where core ALFA ideals can be openly explored and discussed. Youth centres are empowering spaces for young people where they can participate and not be discriminated on the basis of caste, sex, religion, nationality Youth resource centres are a fundamental part of ALFA as they are the place that most of our activities are conducted and performed.
ALFA conducts two Youth Adda's each month at our Youth Resource Centres in Karawara, Ghati and Bambala villages. Each addresses different themes such as: Self, Trust and Identity, Gender, Education and Local Communal Issues. Through creating a 5th space in schools and homes each theme is discussed in relation to the local community and conversation about how the youth participants are able to address the same issues themselves is facilitated. Youth Adda's have motivated several young leaders to actively engage in solving some of these issues in their own communities tailoring social action projects to fit their specific needs.
'Ending Child Marriage - Progress and Prospects' (UNICEF, 2014), states India has the sixth highest prevalence of child marriage in the world. Marriage at young age prevents both girls and boys from exercising agency which is of paramount importance to making important life decisions and securing basic freedoms which include pursuing opportunities for education, earning a sustainable livelihood and good sexual health. ALFA maintains that early child marriage reinforces exiting gender, class, caste, religious and ethnic inequalities. Taking the findings from some preliminary research together ALFA proposed an intervention that would work towards the creation of a 5th space that would facilitate dialogue and engagement of young people on the issue of child marriage. Activities such as social action projects, campaigns, engaging key stakeholders such as parents, teachers and local bodies were employed. Furthermore, cross border relationships between young people are fostered and encouraged though cross border engagements, peers visits and open dialogues.