Just Stay Young And Be The Change: In conversation with Abhishek Dahiwal

Hanging out with friends to have fun is needed to distress ourselves and also maintain joy in our lives. But, Abhishek Dahiwal got the idea of forming an organisation for social work while hanging out with his friends. ‘Change We Need’, an NGO was started with 22 people gathering funds by their pocket money. Read more to know more…

Q) Tell us about your organisation; like its foundation, aims, team, etc?
After passing out from 10th, my friends and I used to meet every Saturday and Sunday near our school to have fun. Later, on many mutual friends also joined us there. From a long time, the idea of forming an organization to work for social cause was in my mind but I was waiting for the right time. Later, when the strength of our group increased I shared my thought with a few of my friends and they were ready to work on it. We convinced more of our friends and on 31st March 2014, the foundation of ‘Change We Need‘ was done under my leadership near our school (Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Paranjape Vidya Mandir Kothrud). At the initial level, we used to contribute from our pocket for the expenses of the NGO. We were just 22 people at our first activity but today after 3 years we have achieved the milestone of having more than 250 members working in our NGO.
The best part of Change We Need (CWN) is that all the members are of the 16-22 age group which makes us more powerful and full of energy. CWN aims to unite the youth for the development of India in every field. And I feel that it’s time to show the world the potential of India by using the advantage of the demographic dividend.

Q) What inspired you to take up this particular field of social work?
From school itself, I was a socially active student. I used to organise many events in school on teachers day, on the birthdays of our teachers, and farewell. Everyone in our school trusted my leadership and always supported me. Since then, I decided that I will work in this field of social work and I got the opportunity to find an Organization at the age of 17. I think I got these leadership qualities from my father and brother who always inspired me. Also, the supportive nature of my friends keeps me motivated every time.
Image source: Change We Need
Q) What are the various projects that you undertook till date?
As you may know, Pune has a major issue of traffic and it’s management; so, we decided to work on it. We have conducted many activities of traffic controlling and road safety. And our main activity on traffic is ‘Road Safety Week’ in which all our volunteers stand on the various intersections of Pune for 3 hrs throughout the week to spread the awareness of Road Safety. Road Safety Week is conducted every year in the month of May.
CWN conducts cloth donation camp for poor people in winters, every year.
We also organise a Blood donation camp on 15th August every year.
We visit orphanages and old age homes several times throughout the year
Tree plantation is one of our biggest activity which is done every year in monsoon.
We have also done many activities on the use of paper bags, food donation and books donation or financial help to unprivileged children.
Recently we did श्रमदान (Voluntary contribution of labour for social causes) at Indapur for Satyamev Jayate Water Cups Competition 2017 which is organised by the Paani Foundation.

 Q) Is there any striking experience of yours, in this journey, which you’ll like to share with the readers?
While working I got several experiences which taught me various lessons of life.
During the Road Safety Week when I talk with many senior citizens and they say sayings like ‘तुम्हीच आहात या देशाचं भविष्य… जे आम्ही नई करू शकलो ते तुम्ही तरी करा …आम्हला तुमचा कडून खूप अपेक्षा आहेत‘ (You are the future of this country … Whatever you can do, you do it yourself … We are very expectant from you)  Such statements inspire me to do more and helps me in realising my responsibilities towards the society.

Q) Tell us about your future plans in regard to the organisation?
We have planned to work on two main topics which are
 ◆ Health and Education for all
In this activity, we will be raising funds to help all those unprivileged students who cannot afford the expense of basic education and try to give them possible medical treatments if required. We will also be conducting medical camps, books donations and will work to stop child labour through this activity.
◆ And in second activity we will be asking people of Pune about the problem they are facing or the suggestions they have for their constituency. We will make proper reports about it and submit it to the concerned Corporators of PMC to solve these issues. We will be taking follow-ups from the Corporation and make sure that the work is done.
Through this activity, we will spread political awareness amongst the residents and motivate them to participate in development activities. 

 Q) What is your message to the society?
My message to the people is very straight and simple. I think every citizen should be aware of social issues and take interest in political affairs of the country so that we will be smart enough to question our leaders and raise our voice against injustice. And in a country like India, where more than 50% population is young and they will have to decide whether they have to add in the development of the country or waste their life in various addictions.
I think we should be proud to belong to the country which has the potential to challenge every country in the world, we just need to follow the right path. The future lies in our hands, in the youth of this country. I appeal each and every citizen to take part in the nation’s development and contribute to the cause in every possible way they can. I am sure we are not very far from being the India of which APJ Abdul Kalam had dreamt of.
Just Stay Young And Be The Change!

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