The first batch of the Youth Eco-Feminist Community Action Course was officially inaugurated in Hyderabad on August 7, 2023.
Jointly developed by Dhaatri, Sakhi, and Keystone, the course is designed to help Adivasi and Dalit youth to dialogue on culture, Constitutionality and identity and to engage with their natural resources through a gender-just lens.
Through a 10-month long journey of praxis and learning course, the youth will visit field areas of several groups working on Adivasi and Dalit rights, women's rights, livelihood initiatives and cultural knowledge practices.
"The course is for youth in the community who could not get the opportunity for higher education, but would like to get more understanding about working on development and community action. This is an opportunity to learn from different organisations, and have stronger thinking on problems related to marginalised communities," said Bhanumathi Kalluri, Executive Director, Dhaatri.
The first batch has a total of 15 youth hailing from Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. Most of them have already been working in their communities, and hope to expand their knowledge and develop new perspectives to aid their local actions.
"I come from an area which is blessed with rich forests, but my village has several problems. I want to take back learnings from here to my village and try and find new solutions," said Suguna, a Gond youth from Telangana's Adilabad district.
"Through this programme, we want to explore different places. Every region and community has different problems, but the connecting thread and solution might very well be similar," added Swati Patel from Gujarat.
The inauguration was attended by senior Adivasi leaders Ashok Chaudhari, Vittal K Rao, and veteran social workers like Kishangaru, Brigadier P Ganesham, Surya Prakash and Kameshwarigaru who urged the youth to work towards erasing divisions in the society, stay grounded, and approach challenges with a constructive outlook, all while following their own path.