A day in the Life of a Youth Leader at Sanjhi Sikhiya
Punjab Youth Leaders Program is an initiative by Sanjhi Sikhiya. Every Year 10-15, young people from diverse backgrounds come together for a two-year-long immersion in rural parts of Punjab. This two-year transformative journey is a platform for young people to practice leadership, understand development and bring about systems change in education in Punjab. They do this by going through a two-year immersive experience where they work with schools, panchayats, block officials and the education departments in the district. To do this, they go through intense sessions and practices for self-discovery, inner growth and building competencies. Everything at PYLP is hands-on; you take your initiative, learn by doing and create independent projects.
Here is a brief glimpse of different youth leaders and their routines as a part of the program. While there is a set structure and rhythm to everything, each adapts it according to its context and nature.
Tania’s typical day begins with an hour of Yoga and Silence. She enjoys spending quality time alone in the morning. Based on the values of PYLP she sets daily intentions as she prepares herself for the day.
Rupinder usually has his meetings scheduled for 9 am. He likes to visit by 8:30 and meet his cluster and block partners before starting their day. This way, he can get some work moving on a priority basis.
Sukhjit visits schools five days a week like his other friends at PYLP. Every time he meets teachers, he is full of ideas. Most teachers find his energy contagious and reciprocate by sharing their insights and challenges related to their classrooms.
Rajesh enjoys his time with his young friends at school. The head teacher rarely lets him leave without a mid-day meal, looking at
is fondness for them. He also doesn’t miss this opportunity to invite her to the Teachers Collective.
Simran is a little worried that she got late from school to visit the sarpanch who had invited her for tea. Simran is very passionate about rural development schemes and will speak to the sarpanch about the upcoming Gram Sikhiya Sabha (GSS) she is organising.
While Harish is talking to an SMC member and inviting her to the GSS, he notes the initiatives she has taken for her children at home and would like to highlight them so that they can be shared with other parents.
Noor is excited today as it was her first Gram Sikhiya Sabha. Her teachers were very supportive, and she was able to bring together more than twenty people from the Panchayat and SMCs to talk about education in the school. She was initially hesitant, but when she remembered the tips, Chanderhans had shared to save the day.
Beant worked hard to align to make an academic meeting happen in her cluster. Finally, when the teachers showed up today, she felt relieved. The rich discussions reinforced her beliefs that the system can only be transformed from within, and for that to happen, everyone has to start taking responsibility for their transformation.
Arwinder and Bhawna have been given additional responsibility to hold the Weekly Learning Space this time. It is an important day of the week when all young leaders from all over the district come together. They want everyone to have a good time and are busy preparing fun activities before and after work.
Akash enjoys the scenic route on her way back. Being in nature is her way of silence. She stops midway and spends some quiet time updating her daily notes. She is also preparing a message for the upcoming Leadership Journey session on Purpose Discovery. She has enjoyed the last one and wants everyone to be fully present for this one.
It is evening time, but Atif has no rest. He has already received three calls from the youth club members for the Badminton tournament that he has organised. He worked hard to get the court ready, and now they all want him to come and play with them. He also doesn’t want to miss this at all.
Jeevan likes to spend her evenings engaging herself in learning. She is doing a project on incorporating storytelling in the classrooms for children. Her video editing project that she started on her own also needs her attention. She does all of this while talking to her friends on the phone and listening to their daily adventures. She is not at all thinking about all the clothes she has to wash!
Chanderhans also got back little late today. He had gone to the Gurudwara, where he does his evening silence. He walks on the way back. This is also his way of getting daily exercise. He has worked hard to learn documentation and planning. He is satisfied with his efforts and wants to learn facilitation next to continue his work beyond PYLP.
Hari has prepared his dinner, updated his notes and is now ready to go back to bed. He reads before sleeping. He picks up a book on transforming the education system and improving the teaching-learning practices in the class. He is happy that he can link to his recent experiences. He also notes his questions and hypotheses to test them during his visits. He also wants to share them with the larger PYLP community during the weekly reflection session on Saturday.
When they all come together on Saturday evening for weekly reflections, they share their thoughts and feelings freely with each other. They also ask questions and seek support. AT PYLP work is our means for growth. We are able to hold both the enjoyable and difficult parts of it with ease and help others go through them.