The purpose of Punjab Youth Leaders Initiative is to generate awareness and empathy among those in North America about the social, economic, and political issues of the people of Punjab, India. Punjab Youth Leaders Initiative endeavors that such awareness will help to promote diasporic involvement in the economic, intellectual, physical, and spiritual development of all the people of Punjab through the support of relevant development projects and programs. A secondary purpose of the organization is to support the professional development of young people to enable them to lead change initiatives and solve community problems in Punjab that align with our primary purpose.
In August 2017, a bunch of us, driven by the idea of collective responsibility and our shared dream of a Chadhda Punjab, joined hands for the first time. We started working on the ground and soon realized that, in addition to the education sector, there are other areas that were equally challenging. Problems such as substance abuse, polluted groundwater, depleting soil quality, excessive migration of the youth etc. were and still are intertwined in the form of a vicious circle. While the challenges are largely systemic in nature, we found that current interventions are isolated and focus on symptoms rather than the root cause.
We also met many young people who came together to support us. They had a first hand experience of the challenges we were only discovering. It was very inspiring to meet those who despite their struggles and hardships had refused to go to a foreign land or take the easy way into drugs. They are leaders of future Punjab who are taking taking initiatives at their own level to create a society they want to live in. They gave hope, courage and showed possibilities of what can happen if we support them.
With the support of district administration, we started from Fatehgarh Sahib in 2018. After a year of working directly with primary schools we developed a Cluster Transformation Approach to improve the governance and learning processes. In the same time-period our first cohort of 10 young leaders also joined us to take this work further. PYLP which was just an idea so far, thus, became a reality with a 30 year vision for the future of Punjab.