The Dholakia Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd., dedicated to empowering youth and fostering sustainable development, orchestrated a resounding success with its celebratory event in honour of International Youth Day 2023. Under the resonating theme, "Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World," the occasion gathered approximately 130 enthusiastic students, youth volunteers, and emerging leaders from academic institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across Surat and Gujarat. This assembly of spirited young minds aimed to cultivate eco-conscious skills and cultivate a robust commitment to a sustainable future.
International Youth Day (IYD), endorsed by the United Nations to raise awareness about pertinent issues affecting the youth, held special significance in India, home to the world's largest youth populace. The Dholakia Foundation, mindful of this critical juncture, embraced the vital role of engaging and enabling young people in confronting societal and environmental challenges. This endeavour aligned harmoniously with India's pursuit of harnessing youth potential and championing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event was marked by an array of activities designed to furnish participants with indispensable tools, knowledge, and resources to engender meaningful change. Distinguished speakers, including the luminary Padma Shri Savji Dholakia, Founder of Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd. and Dholakia Foundation, Pintu Dholakia, CEO of Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd., Ruvin Dholakia, Akash Bansal, Founder of Project Surat, Environmental Biotechnologist and Climate Change Biologist, Silvia Martín Muñoz from AIESEC Belgium, and Dholakia Foundation’s CEO, Keziah Gerosano, lent their insights and experiences, evoking inspiration within the young attendees to become agents of change. The Director of Dholakia Foundation, Brijesh Dholakia, extended his felicitations to set the tone for the commencement of the programme. By nurturing a profound comprehension of sustainability, the Foundation sought to cultivate a generation of leaders poised to orchestrate lasting positive impacts on society.
In his address, Padma Shri Savji Dholakia encouraged the young attendees to use this day as the commencement of their lifelong intention, “Forge a strong, unwavering resolution. Pursue it daily, focused on strength and success, charting a path uniquely yours. Picture your 50-year self, proud of the decisions made. By setting your course now, if 130 individuals in this room act with determination, they can stir ripples of change in a population of 1.3 billion… Use Youth Day as an annual touchstone of your resolution, rekindling your mission. Your resolution today can shape your entire life, just as mine did 45 years ago. When hard work is your hallmark, others take note. 90% of success stems from dedication, creating a legacy.”
He further urged the youth to pledge their allegiance to environmental stewardship, advocating for the protection of the Earth and the prioritisation of service to both society and the nation, serving as three principal sutras integral to their chosen resolution. “Earth's power supports those who work for its betterment. My success comes from serving my village, district, and nation. Prioritise the greater good in decisions, not just personal gain,” he added, drawing from his own experience that doing good is its own reward as karma ensures one reaps what one sows.
Sessions led by Akash Bansal and Silvia Martín Muñoz encompassed an assortment of topics related to green skills, encompassing waste management, climate crisis mitigation, environmental awareness, and sustainable home and lifestyle practices. These visionary thought leaders imparted practical knowledge and innovative ideas to tackle pressing environmental concerns. Participants also huddled together to brainstorm and collaboratively propose feasible eco-solutions. They delved into discussions drawing from diverse perspectives and backgrounds, creating a fertile ground for creativity to flourish. Proposals ranged from recycling initiatives to community-based environmental campaigns. Ultimately, the workshop exemplified not only the Foundation's dedication to empowering the youth but also its commitment to channeling their passion into pragmatic actions that can drive positive change in our world.
Corroborating this year’s IYD theme and in line with the Foundation's commitment to environmental conservation, a tree-growing activity was also organised during the event. The enthusiastic participants actively contributed to Padma Shri Savji Dholakia’s goal of planting 600,000 trees in the ongoing year, symbolising their steadfast dedication to nurturing a greener and more sustainable world.
As emerging leaders embraced their roles in the #DFYOUthPower movement, they exchanged ideas, shared dreams, and showcased talents, underscoring the foundation's mission to nurture a sense of community among budding change-makers. DFYOUth bracelets were distributed to signify participants' inclusion in the movement towards empowerment, capacitance, and leadership for social causes and sustainability initiatives. The event saw young visionaries take the stage to share their goals for environmental conservation, highlighting the foundation's mission to inspire and drive change. Their words found a permanent place on a commitment board, etching their pledges to support the environment and the Foundation's noble initiatives.
Pintubhai Dholakia, instilled a sense of belief in one's potential to accomplish the extraordinary within the participants, “Success follows resolute decisions. Even in the term ‘impossible,’ there's room for ‘I'm possible.’”
Ruvin Dholakia continued the discourse by underscoring the significance of maintaining the vision of one's dreams. “When pursuing your dreams, keep in mind the vision you've pictured. Challenges will arise along the way, but don't let them deter you. Whenever thoughts of giving up creep in, reflect on your ultimate goal and the dream you've set forth,” he remarked.
Beyond speeches, the youth were given the invaluable opportunity to connect and collaborate through rapport-building games and energising networking activities. The rhythm of the event was also set by dances from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's GIPCL Academy, the Dholakia Nirman, and the Foundation itself, drawing everyone into their vibrant groove. Camaraderie was fostered as participants immersed themselves in a dynamic array of activities that highlighted the potency of interaction among young minds.
The Dholakia Foundation's celebration of International Youth Day illuminated the potential of unity, collaboration, and eco-consciousness as it assembled a diverse congregation of youth, fervently dedicated to advancing environmental sustainability and social causes. Through kindling their ardour and commitment, the Foundation aspired to embolden these emerging leaders, equipping them to wield substantial influence in catalysing positive transformation. By disseminating awareness, fostering education, and galvanising active participation, the Dholakia Foundation aims to continue forging a harmonious bridge between the SDGs and India's unwavering pursuit of realising youth potential as change-makers, ultimately nurturing a brighter, more sustainable future.
For more information about the Dholakia Foundation and its initiatives, please visit the website.