Project Theme

Youth and Active Citizenship

Target Group


Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 30 Mar 2016

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Initiated in 1993, PRAVAH is an NGO that works to build leadership for social change with young people. Over the last two decades, it has developed a deep understanding and a unique perspective on youth development. This expertise is based on its rich experience of designing and implementing a range of programmes with different segments of adolescents and youth in the country.  In contrast to many other organizations that view youth either as a client group or an instrument for development, PRAVAH’s interventions facilitate youth to lead social change while investing in their own development.  For various reasons, there are relatively few organizations that do this sort of work even though it is a critical need.  



•Building Youth Leadership for self and social transformation

•Streaming of Active Citizenship through building capacities, developing partnerships and incubating start-ups

•Influencing sectoral policies towards conducive environment


About the Project: SMILE: Exposure for young people to understand social realities, make the connection between self and society and engage in active citizenship, 


Impact of running this project: 

•The SMILERs were instrumental in contributing to the organization they were placed with, which is visible in terms of the direct and indirect impact made by students on 598913 people. This impact is seen in terms of the engagement of volunteers in projects in the organizations

•Impact on them


Outcomes/Achievements so far:

•In the period April 2014-March 2015 a total of 1800 young people registered through Inward Bound and other Campus activities for SMILE processes. Out of these, 188 people went through intensive journey which includes SMILE in-turn-ship and Group Exposure.

•426 young people participated in Addas through exposures and campaigns, on skills and on issues; building an understanding on various social issues particularly social inclusion.

•The Club performances alone have helped us reach out to an audience of more than 10000. This partnership is particularly significant because of the breadth and scope of the project in terms of visibility, engagement with the issue of social inclusion and the diverse action projects taken up by volunteers.



“My belief in youth work is constantly reappraised by platforms like Music For Harmony, and  SMILE Inturnship at Pravah. They create safe spaces for young people inspiring them to take up leadership roles. I am happy to be a part of Pravah’s endeavour like the 5th Space.”- Girish Choudhary, Professor, Lady Irwin College   

“It is so heartening to come back to this space to felicitate the journey of young people. My own journey started with Pravah when I was in college, it gave me so much- it taught me how to know myself better and make better choices. Today I can work in red light areas with children and women because I know that’s what I’m passionate about. ”---- Divya Gupta, SMILER 2013

 “Meeting new people, learning new language, understanding their problem, opening up with them etc. all these thing changed my way of thinking. Earlier things were very complicated for me, rather I made it complicated, but after my internship I started taking my life more lightly, enjoyed each and every moment of it.”- Rahul Bhagtani, SMILEr Summer 2014,


CASE Study:              Jyoti Shukla

Interned at:  Hum Kisan Sangathan, Jhiri, Rajasthan

Year: 2014

Education:  Graduation in History, Daulat Ram College, Delhi University

Currently: Starting 3rd year in college

When she was first introduced to the idea of the SMILE internship, Jyoti resisted it with all her might. She was scared, nervous and unsure of venturing out on her own. A visit to the Pravah office with a friend changed all that instantly. She was inspired and motivated enough to enroll for the internship even though her friend dropped out later. A 13 hour bus journey to Jhiri  village in Jhalawar district, through the night on her own was an exciting adventure for a person who had never travelled alone anywhere! 

Jyoti interned with Hum Kisan Sangathan (HKS) in December 2014, where she taught children from Classes 5 – 7 at the rural school, Manthan. She also documented the entire handloom production process, the main livelihood of many people in the area, in English and Hindi.  Along with 2 other interns, Jyoti created a Facebook page for HKS where photographs of their handloom products were uploaded, to reach out to a wider public audience. Jyoti shared many moments of close bonding with the team at HKS and continues to be in touch with them. 



In high school, Jyoti was a shy and closed person, who largely kept to herself. Coming from a small friendly school in Faizabad, the move to a huge public school in Delhi in Class IX made her feel very lost and uncertain. She suffered from low self-esteem and had few friends in school. Although Jyoti often longed for things to be different, she was not quite sure how to break the ice and reach out to more people. SMILE changed that dramatically. After the internship, Jyoti began to open up, talk and share her feelings and experiences. The internship gave her the courage and confidence to do things she had never done before. She says “My motivation levels to step out of my comfort zone and take on difficult tasks improved vastly with the Get Real and the Orientation Camp. I learnt that if one wants to do something, one should not focus on the problems or bottlenecks but instead find a way to work around them and eventually everything works out for the best.”

At the Feedback session after the internship, the activity called `Let Go’ impacted Jyoti greatly. When 3 people said `I want to give my responsibility to you’ without really knowing her, it was a big boost to her confidence – she felt that people actually trusted her. 

At college, Jyoti started talking with many more people in her class and her sphere of interaction broadened from 2-3 people to 25-30 people. She was surprised to discover that quite a few of them actually liked her and her own stereotypes about herself started breaking. Jyoti initiated a `Book Barter Club’ at her college to facilitate exchange of books between students.

There were significant changes in her family relationships too. Earlier, Jyoti didn’t like visiting her maternal grandmother’s house in Jharkhand and found her relatives to be too critical. But the internship made her question her own attitudes and mental blocks and she started being more open and accepting. She learnt to `confront’ a problem and tackle it rather than pushing it away or ignoring it. Today she has a much better relationship with her cousins and her larger family.

Jyoti used the following 5 words to describe her experience with Pravah: Sharing, Love, Family, Second-home, Our Place


Future Plans

She would like to pursue a Masters programme in History and then appear for the IAS entrance exam.  Jyoti has always been interested in Heritage Conservation but didn’t quite know how to take her interest forward. Now she feels even more passionately about it and also has the confidence to go talk to people about it, get information and get involved.


Ongoing Involvement with Pravah

Two days after the internship, she participated in a Bus Journey to Kathputli Colony and loved it. Jyoti is now a Youth Facilitator with Pravah. Since the internship, Jyoti has been involved with Get Real and the CYC Bus Journey to Lucknow (Bus- Stop Discrimination Now). She is part of the Theatre Group, Mohalla Bol and has acted in 5-6 plays around Delhi at various venues including IIT Delhi. The plays were short skits that focused on breaking various stereotypes relating to transgenders, personal appearance (skin colour, height, weight / obesity). 

Jyoti was part of the Decoration team for Music For Harmony 2015. She is now also working on starting an Art Club along the lines of the Theatre Club and Music Club in Pravah.

For Jyoti, Pravah is clearly a second home. She knows that she can turn to Pravah for guidance and mentorship whenever she needs it – they will always be there for her.