Developmental Perspective on the Key Questions Addressed:

The participants in NIRMAN belong to the age group of 18 – 28, the ‘emerging adulthood’ phase. It is the age of identity exploration and the age of possibilities. For the youth interested in social issues, the key developmental questions that we have observed include the ones related to their self-identity, sense of purpose and meaning, relationship with family and partner, need for a likeminded group of friends, supportive mentoring, deeper understanding of social problems and approaches of solving them, clarity of values and conviction of decision-making, personal effectiveness and career.

NIRMAN is facilitating the youth’s search for purpose by social problem based experiential learning and identification of self through it. A few sample reflections from the participants as shown below, echo this fact and the growth they experience:
• “NIRMAN taught me to critically analyze various social problems and gave me the courage to pursue my life in a meaningful way towards my society.”
• “I got a value system, lots of guides and friends that removed my feeling of loneliness.”
• “I understood the difference between my needs and wants and got the conviction to reduce my carbon footprint. NIRMAN taught me that what I ‘need’ to do is more important than what I ‘like’. It helped me become empathetic towards people.”
• “Career is not about material achievements, it’s about touching more number of people.”
• “NIRMAN gave me confidence and vigor, nurtured my social sensitivity without forcing anything. It gave me the opportunity to serve.”

These narratives reflect the possibility of “search for purpose through pursuit of social problem solving” that is driving the participants in NIRMAN. In a before-after questionnaire survey administered to 73 participants from the recent batch of NIRMAN, 65 people said that the cause for which to work will be the most important criteria for their career decisions, 50 people wanted to work with nonprofits as a priority and the entire group on average was ready to take a pay cut of INR 32,549 from their expected salary at the age of 30.
In a situation where young people in India are continuously bombarded with consumerism and monetary competition for success, NIRMAN is offering a conducive environment and systematic possibilities for the youth participants to engage in actions of social change and find a deeper meaning to their lives.