Most of the stories in this blog are written by young people who are doing this for the first time in their lives. Many of them are first generation learners, and find the very act of writing a massive struggle. The struggle is not only one of putting pen on paper and forming words, but also of holding thoughts and feelings, of valuing them, organising those memories and then putting it on paper.
They have never had the opportunity to learn how to express themselves, to share the deeply personal stories of everyday challenges, and the triumph of rising above them. They have not had the space to reflect on their own feelings, relationships, life events. No one told them that it is important, that they are important, and what they think or feel or do, is of value.
Most of these young people have never before had access to computers or the magic of internet that millions of their peers all over the world take for granted. A few of them, mostly the boys, do own internet enabled cell phones; but that technology is still not the key to the world where ideas can be shared across borders.
These stories are a part of an ongoing process to address these issues - of self awareness, ability to reflect, analyse and express, to set goals and make resolves, of the need to build a digital bridge to the world that exists beyond lanes of the neighbourhood.
Participants are all members of Youth Resource Cells (YRCs), which are neighbourhood based youth groups. There are just over 20 YRCs, each with between 10 and 30 members (March 2013). These groups go through a structured learning for a year, during which time they also begin to work in their own communities. This blog is an attempt to capture snapshots and milestones of this journey, both for the YRC members themselves, and for the larger world.
The workshop that has yielded these stories is one of the components of the learning that young people go through, offered only to those who choose it. Through the workshop, participants are first guided to find their own voice. Later they also learn how to use computers to compose their pieces in the language of their choice. They learn about social media, how to publish their work, how to find out how many people in the world have engaged with their stories, and what countries they are from. Other YRC members are also encouraged to read and comment on each others stories.
This form of exchange is an important motivation for young people to continue along the path, and face with new energy, the struggles of challenging norms, expressing, writing, blogging.
If you like any of these stories, please take the time to share what has resonated with you. Your comments and suggestions may well help alter the course of someone's life.
Your comments become a part of ongoing sessions; they cause much excitement. Responses are reflected upon and discussed. They help keep issues alive, and questions burning. Your comments are a valuable part of the change that these young authors are experiencing. It is an important contribution to the process, Thank you for that!