As it was felt that there was a lack of emerging youth leadership to take on various developmental challenges in the state of Maharashtra, NIRMAN was started as a program under SEARCH in the year 2006. In the year 2008, SEARCH collaborated with MKCL (Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited) and since then, NIRMAN has spread to various corners of Maharashtra.
Today, half of the Indian population is under 25 years of age. In 2020, average person in India will be 29 years of age, compared to 48 years in Japan. Clearly, youth is the face, force and future of India. NIRMAN aims to help these youngsters find meaning to their lives, to bridge the gap between the various social, scientific and technological challenges around and to unleash the tremendous potential of the youth.
NIRMAN aims to create a large group of young professionals having the desire and the capability to understand and solve the burning social problems. It plans to achieve this by developing an educational process which will facilitate a deeper search of these youth for leading a purposeful life. NIRMAN believes that such a pursuit of social problem solving will bring out the best in those individuals.
Society has problems like poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, lack of quality education, food and water scarcity, global warming, etc. which are waiting to be solved.
On the other hand, there are many youth who are in pursuit of a more meaningful life, something beyond just earning money. NIRMAN attempts to create a bridge between these two things so as to fulfill both the needs.
NIRMAN believes that the self-actualization of its participants cannot take place in isolation or in the narrow confinements of a secured lifestyle. It therefore attempts to bring the youth face to face with the reality of life, enabling them to identify, analyze and solve the societal problems. NIRMAN is a continuously evolving process of problem based experiential learning and identification of self through it. It focuses on enabling the participants to understand the world outside to find the peace within.
- To sensitize the youth towards various societal challenges by way of education through experience, exposure, efforts and experimentation.
- To enable the youth to find out and actualize their mission and to equip them with the necessary skills, values and vision to increase the effectiveness of their work.
- To give them opportunity and atmosphere to grow by way of ‘Self Learning’ and to find more meaningful and joyful purpose for their life while working on societal challenges.
- To cultivate and sustain a large community of youth leadership who will work (fulltime or part-time) for social change and support others.
- By working with people, to identify various problems in the society, to bring them to society’s attention and to develop innovative solutions on these.
The current education system gives lot of information, occasionally a few skills, but does not give its participants sense of purpose. And so, “What should I do with my life?” remains an unanswered question for most people. Very few get a chance to actively search for an answer.
In order to change this situation and staying true to the very purpose of education, NIRMAN encourages self – search for the development of one’s life mission, something which is intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying.
The NIRMAN educational philosophy finds its roots in the Nayee Talim principle proposed by Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave. As against the conventional education system which compartmentalizes formal education and real life, NIRMAN aims to bridge this gap and achieve education through real problem solving.
Education for life, Education through life and Education throughout life is the motto of this process.
NIRMAN has developed a unique educational process to systematically cultivate young social leadership from the selected students/professionals.
NIRMAN Expanse So Far
Since its inception, 8 batches of NIRMAN have finished the training program. The 9th batch has commenced its journey from January 2019. Through these 9 batches, a total of 1232 youth are associated with NIRMAN. Geographically spread, these youth are from all the 36 districts in Maharashtra state – spread across 236 tehsils, and from 16 other states in India. Education wise, there are around 40% doctors, 35% engineers and a mix of lawyers, journalists, filmmakers, teachers, farmers, science-arts-commerce graduates, etc. There is a 55:45 male/female gender ratio.
Around 350 NIRMAN youth are working full time on specific social challenges in different parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan. Their work domains can be broadly classified as:
- Energy and Environment
- Development and Governance
These young motivated people exhibit the spirit of NIRMAN in their life choices and professional actions, daily! Together, these NIRMAN youth have contributed over 860 person-years of social action so far, by working with around 82 different social organizations across the country.
The various problems they have chosen to work on include topics like providing health services in remote rural and tribal areas, rural electrification, watershed development, waste management, improving the implementation of national rural employment guarantee scheme, activism through RTI for improving transparency, spreading books and reading culture in the rural and tribal areas, research on chronic diseases and malaria, research on cattle breeds to improve farmers’ productivity, appropriate technology for improving well-being of laborers and porters, brain based education, organic farming, environmental impact assessment, providing management support to different NGOs, village-based livelihood programs, etc.
Every year, more and more participants join this league and their collective reach, variety and depth is increasing. NIRMAN continues to support this pool of young change agents to further build their effectiveness and world view, and by providing financial and mentoring inputs as needed.
NIRMAN Samudaay and Associations
Though NIRMAN is an initiative by SEARCH and MKCL, today various leading social organizations, thinkers, activists, professionals are supporting this initiative. Together this group constitutes the wider NIRMAN Samudaay which believes in this dream of ‘solving social problems through nurturing youth leadership’. Click here to see the names.
Possibilities of Future Expansion
MoU with MUHS: As a fantastic validation of its work with the youth so far, NIRMAN was invited by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS, Nashik) to enter in to a formal partnership for conducting educational programs for the social sensitization of medical students spread across various medical colleges throughout Maharashtra. Representatives of NIRMAN and MUHS exchanged the MoU in this regard in a function in Mumbai in the presence of Hon. Medical Education Minister of Maharashtra.
NIRMAN – IITB: IIT Bombay approached NIRMAN with the request of conducting such process exclusively for their students. Accordingly, two workshops with total 50 students (B.Tech. & M.Tech.) of IIT Bombay took place in Gadchiroli in December 2014 and 2015. The process was conducted in Hindi/English and the experience has been very encouraging.
Other States: NIRMAN is already reaching wide to various corners of Maharashtra with participation from all the 36 districts in the state and also from 16 other states apart from Maharashtra. There have been requests from NGOs in Karnataka, Gujrat and Jharkhand about replicating NIRMAN in their states.
What NIRMAN is NOT
- NIRMAN is a youth educational process and not a Membership Based Youth Organization.
- NIRMAN’s aim is to empower its participants to take up social challenges, but it does not own the activities and professional choices made by the participants.
- NIRMAN is not a Political Movement, nor does it align itself with any political views or party politics.
- NIRMAN is not a Religious Organization, nor does it support any religious or caste based ideology.
- NIRMAN is not a Commercial Venture.
- Using NIRMAN name and/or NIRMAN Logo for any political stand, public statement, advertisement, news or to raise funds is prohibited.