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Indian youth volunteers to clean river & protest violence on women
01 December 2004

New Delhi: A volunteers’ carnival focusing on “Youth against Violence on Women” and “shramdaan” (voluntary labour) by youth with mental handicap to clean the highly polluted river Yamuna in Delhi are part of the activities being organized in India to mark International Volunteer Day (IVD) on 5 December.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme’s India Country Office in partnership with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti - the national memorial of Mahatama Gandhi - is organizing the volunteers’ carnival for the third year in succession. The event on 4 December will include a panel discussion on “Youth against Violence on Women”, and a festival of street plays highlighting young volunteers’ role in preventing violence on women. Youth are expected to take part in large numbers.

The carnival aims to promote volunteerism especially among the youth to build social responsibility and encourage them to fight the increasing problem of violence on women. UNV will also share at the event the progress of initiatives kicked off at the “V Need U” fair organized during IVD in 2003.

On 3 December, which is the World Disability Day, youth with mental handicap will initiate “shramdaan” (voluntary labour) to clean the Yamuna, Delhi’s dying river and to draw the media and citizen attention to the river’s plight and the need for concentrated action for its improvement.

The Yamuna, Delhi’s lifeline providing 70% of the Indian capital’s drinking water need, is currently in a veritable mess. Everyday the river is polluted by untreated domestic sewage, industrial effluents, fly ash, chemicals and even temple waste that it is supposed to cleanse.

The young volunteers will be joined in their initiative by Sandeep Dikshit, member of Parliament and Jerome Sauvage, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in India.

UNV is organizing the shramdaan in partnership with We for Yamuna, a programme of Swechha - We for Change Foundation, and the Society for Child Development. Swechha is an initiative with a thrust on providing citizenry a direction and opportunity to work towards a better, socially and environmentally responsible society. The Society for Child Development works to create a world of equal opportunities for children and young adults with mental handicap and other disabilities.

From: UN Volunteers India