Empowerment is a word that fills us with the energy to work for the betterment of the community. People have a myth that empowerment means becoming capable of earning something or becoming financially independent. A question arises in my mind when I look at this concept of empowerment. Youth is the strength of the nation. The progress of a country depends on how the youth gets treated and provides opportunities for development.
Recently I got a chance to conduct a session on Life Skills for a group of youths. The title of the training program was Disaster Management and it was organized by the District Disaster Management Committee. I was amazed to hear the title.
I conducted my session. It went on good. But I was curious to know what these trainers tell about disaster management. The next session was regarding rescue operations during floods. The session was an eye-opener. I had a belief that a rescue operation consists of a few experts that reach the flood-affected area with a rescue boat and a few life jackets and help people to shift to safe places. The most exciting part was the different types of life jackets that can be developed from the materials that are available at home. I then tried to know about the rest of the sessions. The trainers talked about the contents of the training like preparedness and rescue operations done during a few natural disasters like floods, fire, earthquakes, droughts, etc. It was great information. It changed the views I had regarding empowerment.
The training was intended to help students learn techniques for helping people during calamities or disasters. Youth empowerment refers to encouragement for taking charge of their lives. It helps to address their concerns, access the resources and modify their consciousness. The youth of a nation expects equal opportunities for good health, education, skill building, and employment. The disaster management training covers all the elements. It is helping the youth to develop a new skill of saving lives. A calamity or disaster occurs suddenly. We cannot prevent it but can help to reduce the loss of life and property through proper strategies. The training focuses on making youth aware of the techniques for saving people and preventing loss due to accidents.
For instance, when a fire breaks out in a building, a basic knowledge of evacuating the building can save many lives. But consider a situation when people are not aware of the precautions, the loss will be more. We all have recently witnessed a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The news channels and newspapers give us updates on the difficult situations faced by these countries. It is difficult to compare any two situations or countries. We can certainly learn from the incidents of natural calamities taking place around us. India is a highly populated country. The people working with the disaster management cell are few. In this scenario, it becomes difficult to handle the sudden eruption of disasters. Increasing awareness among the youth will prepare more people to handle difficult situations. This can save several lives. Disaster management training is thus training the youths to fulfill the noble responsibility of saving many lives during difficult situations.
Apart from managing the disasters, the training is a source of holistic development for the youth. The modules were framed beautifully to focus on all aspects of their growth and well-being. Every session was followed by a group discussion and presentation. There were different activities to enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The youth learned to work in collaboration and in teams. They learned leadership skills and developed decisive qualities by learning about disasters and the techniques to face the challenges that they may face ahead in life. Above all, they learned the human qualities of caring for others and helping others. They explored the quality of being resilient and adapting to the changes going on around them. The disaster management training made them flexible and collaborative to handle crises in real life. They explored the safety and security concerns of their teammates and taking of themselves and others during tough situations.
The training on disaster management is a marvelous opportunity to enable youth to acquire skills needed to handle tough situations in life. The participants are given the title of disaster friends after the training. The disaster friends should handle the responsibility of increasing awareness of disaster management. It is said that development is an empty slogan in the absence of awareness. The youths who acquire this training should sensitize others on the issues related to disasters or calamities. The training empowers youth to develop skills and courage to face adverse situations in life. Next time, when you talk about empowerment think about it beyond the financial gains. Any activity that improves your skill and makes you human is empowerment. Encourage the youth to participate in projects that help them learn the human virtues of sharing, caring, and respecting others. Digital influence and social media have robbed human qualities. Transform your views about empowerment and help the youth to be good human beings. Contribute to making them capable of handling the challenges and benefit others through their service.
Courtesy : Dr. Anjum Qureshi ,Asst. Prof., RCERT, Chandrapur