The 5th Annual Social Festival of Abhyuday, the social body of IIT Bombay, held from 20th-21st January,2018 was a roaring success. Audience comprising students from the institute as well as from the other colleges of Mumbai, people from NGOs and corporates was sensitized to the challenges faced by many sections of the society. Dedicating this year’s festival to the theme of ‘Enabling Humanity with Human Rights’, a series of events, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and competitions were organized to motivate the audience by highlighting the works of people who have made it big in the sector of social upliftment.
‘Changemaker Series’– one of the biggest event of the festival- highlighted the plight of children living on streets and their “unconscious” neglect by society. Deprivation of their basic rights and lack of equal access to opportunities was highlighted through a dialogue involving changemakers Dia Mirza (Actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador), Prerna Langa (CEO of Yes Foundation) and Kaveere Bamazee (Editor- India Today) and was a big step in recognizing the identity of these children, amplifying their issues and rights.
Working to uplift the rights of women, the Women Empowerment Conclave focused on problems like discrimination, undermining etc. faced by women in society and at workplace. A Sanitary Pad Making Workshop was held to highlight the stigma associated with sanitary napkins- a primary need- whose neglect leads to infections and problems in a vast number of women. A Breast Cancer Screening Camp was also held where 100 women were screened free of cost to raise awareness of the need of cheaper and early cancer detection methods.
Voicing its support for the LGBT community, Abhyuday organized Rainbow Diariesan amalgamation of discourses by eminent personalities like Harish Iyer, Sonali Giani and Urmi Jadhav who are actively involved in activism for LGBT rights. The speakers gave a talk on “Perspectives and Acceptance of the LGBT Identity in India”, followed by a healthy and open discussion with the audience.
A Socio-X Lecture series featuring Medha Patkar , Dr. Prakash Amte and Dr. Mandakini Amte served as an inspiration for the audience to put society before self and work for upliftment of downtrodden and marginalized people. Afroz Shah and Mahesh Sharma talked about the importance of contributing to the society and solving real problems of people by being a part of their community. Declaring safer roads as an essential right, Drishya focused on using the passion of youth to bring about a change and was supported by Mr Sanjay- Deputy Commissioner of Transport and Mr Amit Bhardwaj- Deputy Advisor of NITI Aayog . An Action Plan Competition was also organized where participants came up with brilliant solutions to the social problems faced by India.
The last evening featured a Concert for a Cause: a collaboration with NGO Swaradhar , providing platform to singers ‘entitled’ as beggars on Mumbai locals.
Performing alongside ‘Akriti Kakar’ , the famous Bollywood playback singer, these artists held the sway of the audience and showcased their wonderful abilities. The concert also acted as a fundraiser for the improvement of livelihood of these heroes and Self Help Groups of blind women
It’s the concerted efforts of a small group of concerned people from IIT Bombay at Abhyuday , yet it’s the positive ripples that spread out far with festivals like these. Socially aware and active citizens can go a long way in improving our society; and the 5th edition of Annual Social Festival of Abhyuday was a small step in spreading that awareness. Abhyuday will keep working for a better society where human rights and equal access to opportunities is no longer demanded; it is a part of life!
IIT Bombay, Abhyuday