20 years ago, 12 August was designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly. One may ask why do we have International Observance days? According to the UN, International days are there to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. International Youth day serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth. (https://en.unesco.org/events/international-youth-day-1)
GIRLS Inspire works towards empowering young women and girls for sustainable livelihoods, with specific focus on those who have been left behind. To celebrate International Youth day, we want to shine a light on an exceptional young woman from India. Seema Gavali participated in Mann Deshi Foundation’s Young Girl’s Project (MDF is a partner of COL’s GIRLS Inspire).
Seema did not complete her school education, but that did not deter her from becoming one of the influential business women in her community. She started her own soap and essence business but lacked the skills to make it a sustainable. She enrolled at Mann Deshi and took various courses such as marketing, computer skills as well soft skills on women’s rights. After completing her courses, she was confident to improve and expand her company. Today she has 6 women in her employment and her monthly turnover is around 40000 to 50000. Mann Deshi Foundation recently awarded Seema with the ‘Best Businesswomen Award”.
Seema did not allow her circumstances to define her. She was determined to make a difference in her family and community. Seema’s inspiring story is an indication of how the youth can change their own destiny if they put their mind to it. By sharing Seema’s story, we hope that it can inspire change and that she can be seen as a role model for their peers.
Congratulations Seema and happy International Youth Day.