Sangti Konyak, a young man from Tobu Town is a lad with a mission. His mission, to help his community- the youth, social welfare and well-being of the town in general. Konyak, notes of the hardships he faced as a child and wanted to become the change if he was to see it.
Sacrifing his pocket money and scholarships to cater to the needs of his town is what one could say of keeping one’s eye on the prize. For Konyak, it was more than a prize, it was a priority.
Here is an exclusive interview with Sangti Konyak as he divulges into the core problems his town faces and discusses of the Genesis Project highlighting on the library initiative as he speaks to TNT.
TNT: May I have your introduction?
SK: Thank you for your interest in my small initiative, I am Sangti Konyak, 25 years old from Tobu Town, Mon District Nagaland. I am currently working as a Project Coordinator for a small health programme under FHI 360 (Family Health International). I am also a regular reader of TNT magazine and it is such a privilege for me to be part of it.
TNT: Please tell me, what is it that made to come up with the library initiative in your town?
SK: Growing up in a place where the only books I find around me were my academic text books, few magazines, comic books etc and discovering that huge collections of interesting books on poetry, Novels, English and Christian literature, histories, world politics etc are available in the college library here in Dimapur a couple of years back made me to come up with this initiative. With an intention of meeting the needs of those who are interested to read like me and also to encourage young students from my town who have very little knowledge or ideas about different kinds of books available, I decided that it was fundamental to have a library for everyone to benefit from it.
TNT: How hard was it to amass the collection of books?
SK: To sacrifice my two years of scholarship and pocket money for books was so challenging, because there are many other needs and requirements that comes ups every day especially when you are in college but I always prioritize my other needs and invested all my little savings completely for a library.
Today I feel satisfied to have collected around 500-600 collections of different books, and it is so exiting to even think of having your own mini library.
At the end of the day, when you get motivated with your own initiative it help me to dream bigger which I hope will help me in long run.
TNT: I believe it surely will Konyak. Moving on, can you please tell me of your experience as a child in a community where you have to struggle due to lack of proper books?
SK: Some of the problems I have faced as a child growing up in a place where there is no proper electricity and proper road connectivity is that it was a big challenge for me because there is no where you can go for reference especially when it comes to extracting additional information while writing academic assignments. You don’t know whats happening in the world, your country or your state because Newspapers are also not available and even if you subscribe it reaches after a week or two together in bundles.
TNT: Is the library initiative a part of Genesis project?
SK: I plan to initiate all of my activities in the name of The Genesis Project, Tobu because this is the only platform which I have witnessed the participation of a great majority of the youths together. And so I want everyone involved in the project earlier to remember about our dedication and remind them about their responsibilities.
TNT: What is Genesis project?
SK: The Genesis Project, Tobu is a platform where the youths irrespective of villages, clans etc work together to bring a positive impact towards our area.
TNT: How has the internet been helpful in your enterprise?
SK: Internet have played a significant role for me to connect with my fellow Naga friends across the country. Without the existence of internet, I am sure we the Tobu Youths would never be able to finish the construction of foot pavement measuring around 600 ft that is now serving the needs of hundreds of citizens to visit the only Community Health Centre in my home town.
TNT: What are the core concerns of the Genesis Project?
SK: Education is one area where our concern lies as of now.
TNT: Who has been the most influential for you to begin such an endeavour?
SK: My dad, Mr. Amstrong Pame, the IAS officer who initiated a construction of road, Mr. Peter Rutsa, Mr. Yanpuvo, the founder of The Naga Blog and Mr. Richard Belho have always motivated and influenced me a lot.
TNT: What was the first project you were involved with?
SK: Construction of the foot-pavement under The Genesis Project, Tobu was one of the first major project I was involved with besides numerous small projects such cleanliness drive, awareness campaign and fund raising projects for the needy.
TNT: Are you receiving any aid from the Govt.?
SK: No, till now.
TNT: What are the difficulties that you face day to day without govt. intervention?
SK: Since I don’t have the habit of relying on Govt. schemes or getting help from Govt. Officials or Politicians, I have not really understood how helpful their participation can be. But yes, if one does get financial assistance from Govt. agencies, I too feel, it will make every small initiative even more easier.
TNT: Any current project apart from Library initiative?
SK: I’m currently working on a youth based journal to fight against leaders who have been consuming all the developmental funds from our area.
TNT: Opinion on current status of your Town?
SK: It is a confused Town with majority of those leading having no clear vision for social progress.
TNT: What do you think is needed to uplift your society in general?
SK: Involvement of student leaders for creating awareness on the importance of education. I believe Development will automatically happen if every one is educated . Tobu area also need a very dedicated young leader to bring social reformation in all angles.
TNT: Anything you might like to convey to our readers?
SK: If our Minister can bring a scheme of 100 Crores in our Towns or Villages, every youth have the capability to contribute 1000 Rs. for doing something good and positive in our society.
If our leaders have money, we also have ideas and if we are determined enough to bring a change, money becomes secondary.
TNT: Thank you for your time. We wish you the best and keep up the good and noble work! We would also like to extend our best wishes to the Genesis Project and we hope that it becomes truly monumental in making a change for the town of Tobu.
-Interviewed by Auswyn Winter Japang
(All photos courtesy: Sangti Konyak and Genesis Project Facebook Page)