YUVA, a non–governmental voluntary organization working in and around Jamshedpur (Singhbhum) has flowered into a well-directed social movement within a short span of 22 years. What was once just a forum, of a few young men of Jamshedpur with fire in their bellies, for taking small initiatives to solve a few problems of their neighborhood, has now grown into a focused social movement to ameliorate the lives of thousands of have-nots and of those who have been compelled to live a sub–human life.

It has achieved a great success in bringing about a radical change in the social attitude of a vast majority of poor people living in the fringes of the industrial town of Jamshedpur. Though a lot of ground has been covered during this short period, much is still left to be done. YUVA is still struggling to precipitate a qualitative change in the lives of thousands of not–so-fortunate denizens of Jamshedpur.

YUVA has participated and launched various community movements in and around jamshedpur. Totally apoltical in ideology and completely dedicated to social uplift, it has strived hard to keep the torch of hope aloft among the neglected and downtrodden.

YUVA was formed on January 12, 1996, by a group of enthusiastic youths of Makdampur area of Jamshedpur. Initially, the activities of the organization were limited and only some youths prepared for different competitions collectively. Their objective was to fare well in competitive examinations and get good jobs. This had begun in 1994. Every Sunday the boys and girls would sit together, organize quiz, debates and mock interviews. The founder members of the organization also started showing interest in social activities slowly. They wanted to develop their own personality as well as rapid social development in their area.

Finally on January 12, 1996, to mark the National Youth Day, members including M Rajiv, Arbind Tiwary, Sandip Sinha, Tushar Kant Mandal, Mamta Kumari, Barnali Chakraborty, Rajendra Prasad, Dilip Kumar and Arun Kumar formed a social organization and named it Youth Unity for Voluntary Action(YUVa).

Some members of the organization got good government and private jobs thanks to elaborate preparations for competitive examinations. This encouraged other youths of the area to join the organization and they too started evincing interest in social activities. In the beginning all the members donated Rs 10 every month to subscribe to different magazines and journals and thus founded a library of sorts. Later, the Information Department of Tata Steel, headed by venerated Mr C Ramaswamy, too chipped in with a lot of contribution to the library. Today the library run by the organization in a Makdampur is a rich one and running smoothly.

Women participating conference on violence against women in Chakdi village organized by Yuva and Oxfam.
Women participating conference on violence against women in Chakdi village organized by Yuva and Oxfam. (Pix: Uttam Acharjee)

This organization had been working more in the area of education in its initial years. In the meantime a member of the organization Prafulla Tanti died of diarrhea just because he could not be taken to hospital on time. This shocked the members of YUVA and they decided to also focus on the area of health in their area of work. The eminent entrepreneur of Jamshedpur, Bailey Bodhanwala was impressed by the commitment and social activities of the organization. With his help, finally, YUVA, launched a maternity and child welfare centre at makdampur with the technical help from Family Welfare Department of Tisco and Bailey Bodhanwala agreed to head the centre as its convener.

During all this “YUVA” members were gaining in experience and encountering the dismal situation prevailing in the rural and urban areas. They realized that more help is needed in the adjoining rural areas. YUVA members launched initiatives for micro-planning and formation of self-help groups in Gitilata and Naga villages of Potka block of East Singhbhum and solved several development related problems of these villages.

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