The Swedish Institute based in Stockholm, Sweden promotes international networks for creative leaders in social change through multiple programs. One of these innovative programs is the Young Connectors of the Future (YCF) for which 25 fellows from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are selected between the age group of 22-32 to participate in 1.5 months of intensive workshops on new creative tools, work strategies and visits to diverse NGOs which are making change happen.
I was selected as one of six participants from India for the YCF 2015-16 fellowship and definitely valued the interactive exchange between young change makers in the fields of education, women’s rights and disability rights among others, from South Asia. What struck me as a powerful proposal of this experience was the possibility to connect with our South Asian neighbours facing similar challenges but who we never meet due to the closed borders between our countries.
Within the program at Stockholm and Malmo (Sweden), we visited organisations working for the employment of immigrants there, for women’s rights and the promotion of inclusive education through creative textbooks at the school level. We networked between each other and planned various projects across borders which make use of our diverse skill sets. I also held a short comic making workshop with the other participants called ‘What do you See’, where we primarily dealt with our preconceived notions through which we take in the world around us.
For more on the YCF program offered annually by the Swedish Institute do see: