On January 20 and 21, the Bombay campus of Indian Institute of Technology lit up to host the fifth annual social Festival of Abhyuday, the prestigious institution’s social body that works towards sensitising people to adopt a socially conscious perspective.
Hosting students from colleges and universities across the city, this year’s festival revolved around the theme, ‘Enabling Humanity with Human Rights’.
To kick-start a dialogue and transform it to concrete and tangible changes, the organisers also brought together various non-profit and corporate organisations under the same ambit, who were sensitised over the challenges faced by different sections of the society.
The two-day festival opened up to a series of well-curated events, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and competitions that broadly concentrated on the works of people who propelled major changes in the sector of social welfare and upliftment.
One of the flagship events of the festival was the ‘Changemaker’ series, which shed light on the predicament of street children and how they are ‘unconsciously’ being neglected by society.
Engaging noteworthy personalities like Dia Mirza (actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador), Prerna Langa (CEO, Yes Foundation) and Kaveere Bamazee (Editor, India Today) in a discourse, major emphasis rested on the deprivation of basic rights and lack of equal access to opportunities for these kids.
The event in itself can be considered as a big step towards not just recognising the identity of street children, but also amplifying their issues and rights and hopefully initiate right changes in the direction.
Another significant event was the ‘Women Empowerment Conclave’, which addressed relevant issues like discrimination and undermining that women face on a daily basis in both society at large and at the workplace.
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Alongside, Abhyuday had also organised a sanitary pad-making workshop and a breast cancer screening camp, where the former highlighted the stigma associated with sanitary pads and latter screened 100 women free of cost to raise awareness on the need of cheaper and early cancer detection methods.
Reaching out to the LGBT community and advocating inclusivity, the festival also hosted ‘Rainbow Diaries’, which included an amalgamation of discourses by eminent activists like Harish Iyer, Sonali Giani and Urmi Jadhav. The focus of the session rested on “Perspectives and Acceptance of the LGBT Identity in India”, which was later followed by an open discussion with the audience.
The ‘Socio-X Lecture’ series featured renowned social activists Medha Patkar, Dr Prakash Amte and Dr Mandakini Amte, who served as an inspiration for the audience with their society-before-self outlook and work towards the upliftment of downtrodden and marginalised communities.
The series also included talks by community Activists Afroz Shah and Mahesh Sharma, who shed light on the importance of giving back to the society and how community effort could solve real-time problems.
‘Drishya’ focused on the underlying necessity of declaring safer roads as an essential right for citizens and advocated the involvement of the passionate youngsters to bring about a change in the society. The event was supported by deputy commissioner of Transport Sanjay Dole and Deputy Advisor of NITI Aayog Amit Bhardwaj.
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Though every event organised by Abhyuday deserves the appreciation of its own, it was the concluding event that didn’t just won everyone’s hearts but also set a precedent for organising socially responsible and impactful shows.
In collaboration with non-profit Swaradhar, which provides a platform to singers ‘entitled’ as beggars on Mumbai locals, Abhyuday organised a ‘Concert for a Cause’, where street artists shared the dais with popular Bollywood playback singer Akriti Kakar and left the crowd enthralled with their singing abilities.
The concert also acted as a platform to raise funds that intends to help these talented individuals and self-help groups (SHG) of blind women have a better life.
Though the reach of Abhyuday is still small, its positive vibes, that the organisation spreads through its social initiatives, that play a key role in catalysing change.
As they say, one good deed begets another, we are sure that as much as we are inspired, many who were part of the festival would have been motivated enough to engage in activities aimed towards the betterment of the society.
You can reach out to Abhyuday at [email protected]
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