Naveen is a slight boy with a bright smile. But don’t let this 15 year old’s demeanour fool you because he is a powerhouse. He has just been selected as an Ashoka Youth Venturer by the Ashoka Youth Venture Programme (AYVP) for his community initiatives.
Naveen leads a team of 4 children with two objectives. They conduct awareness sessions for children and parents in their community on issues such as child marriage and child labour. As a former child labourer who was re-enrolled in school thanks to the efforts of CRY project partner, People’s Organization for Rural Development (PORD), Naveen is a great example of how education can change one’s life.
The second part of his initiative stems from an invention of his. When he went back to school, he worked to create a low cost, eco-friendly cooking fuel using roasted coconut husk, yam powder and limestone. What’s more, this invention won national acclaim when it was chosen by the government as one of five innovations by children across the country.
Thanks to Naveen’s efforts, a total of 23 children have escaped child marriage and child labour and been mainstreamed in schools. And his cooking fuel has been adopted by several schools and Anganwadis for the preparation of meals. As Ashoka Youth Venturer, Naveen will expand his reach and work with more communities to bring about the change he dreams of. We can’t wait to see him work his magic!!