By Ibankyntiew Mawrie, TNT News | DIMAPUR, Nov 29, 2017:
It was back in the early 2000s when he lost all hopes and even considered going off track and staying aloof, but at the nick of time, goodwill prevailed and a sense of ownership and responsibility (not only for himself but for the society), took over his frustrating ideas of becoming an outlaw.
However, after a decade of constant struggle, the man who once thought of flouting societal rules, is now on a mission to build a better world and giving hope to the hopeless.
Meet Jenpu Rhakho Rongmei, a resident of Dimapur, Nagaland – the man who founded Can Youth social organisation established in 2012 with an aim to restore balance in society and cater to school drop outs and empowering them with the much needed life-skills to venture further in this competitive world.
WHO IS JENPU RHAKHO RONGMEI?
Jenpu Rongmei is a young social entrepreneur from Nagaland who dared to venture into this non-profitable profession at a time when unemployment is becoming a major problem in the state.
Born and brought up in Dimapur, this young man set out to carve a niche for himself in this profession for his ability to mobilise youth from cross section of the society to join the noble cause of uplifting and improving the socio-economic income of the society through his innovative programmes.
Before, he started Can Youth; Jenpu was a different man all together. During his teenage years, Jenpu lost his brother to drugs. The pain of losing his only brother to a sickness which could be cured left him in despair. The trauma coupled with financial constraints his family had to endure was more than what Jenpu could bear.
“My mother had to struggle to run the family and after my brother died, the situation became worse. I had a struggling life. While battling with the pain of losing my brother, I also had to think about lending a helping hand to sustain the family,” Jenpu said.
The hardship once got him to a point when he actually thought of venturing into an irrational journey which could have harm and torture his conscience for years to come. But it was then when he realised the unhealthy step he was about to take, all thanks to Fr Jerry who picked him up.
“When I was down, I was about to do something foolish, irrational which but at that time, Fr jerry picked me up and showed me a better path. It was battle between good and evil,” Jenpu narrated.
Sharing the memories of his late brother, Jenpu said “I have seen him suffer every day till the day he died and I keep thinking to myself – Is this not a disease that can be cured?”
Having realised and experienced first-hand, the trauma every family member had to undergo during times like these, Jenpu said “I don’t want other youth to go through the same trauma… that’s why I came up with Can Youth because I believe that if we don’t do it now, when will we do it.”
Jenpu reiterated that there is a need to tap the youth’ potential right from the nascent stage to prevent them from going into drugs or other abuse and to pave way for a better future because “We know the youth hold the power to change the world,” he added.
WHAT IS ‘CAN YOUTH’?
With a good intention to bring about change, Can Youth organisation which started off with only 9 youth under its care now grows in strength and number with as many as 200 youth under its ambit.
In the initial stage, Can Youth managed to provide support to over 60 school drop outs by imparting life skill training, identifying and nurturing their skills and interests. “Now, we cater to over 200 school dropouts” Jenpu said adding that in line with their belief “Let’s Give Hope” – Can Youth strive to empower the youth and thereby enabling them to bring about change and balance empowerment.
This young and vibrant team comprises of — Jenpu Rongmei, Levi S Sumi, Faihamti longmailai, Sentimongla Ozukum, Thsabilila Sangtam, Kivitoli K Sema, Grace Chishi, Waisringdao Naiding, Samuel Walling, Zhove Lohe, Marina Gonmei and Sedelo T Vadeo.
Earlier, Can Youth focuses on semi-urban areas but now, their service is extended to rural areas. “We have trained over 120 youth from 8 villages and semi urban areas in Dimapur and Zunhe Boto District,” he said
adding that they are currently working with 4 government schools to minimise dropout rates by Impart awareness to students, making them understand the meaning of life – “They are meaningful, and they have to learn to cope with problems.”
Supported by DA, Godrej and Bosco Institute Jorhat, Can Youth has managed to enable many youth to stand on their own feet with the adequate support from Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), an associate which imparts skill training.
His immense contribution towards the society did not go unnoticed. In 2012-13, he was awarded with the Fellow of Changelooms, Fellow of North-East Youth Involve in 2014-16, Fellow of Acumen India in 2015, Maja Keone Social Activist Award in 201 and The Telegraph True Legend Award North East in 2016.
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD
Holding on to the saying that one youth can make a difference, this young social entrepreneur said “We need to change the perception youth look at life. They should understand life and accept failures; they need to engage various social activities because this is one tool which could prevent them from going astray.”
Meanwhile, Can Youth’s Assistant Chief Functionary Levi S Sumi who has been working in this organisation for over 2 years said “We engage the youth in various capacity building programmes to boost their confidence and shape their personality behaviour. We also cater to children who are victims of drug abuse.”
The team is very strong, said Levi adding that “We go with the flow and we take responsibility for every life because life is precious.”
As of 2017, the organisation is working on a project — Spatial, where students, parents, teachers are engaged in comprehensive training programmes to stress on the importance of authentic learning.
CHANGE IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR
After months of political instability and hostility, Change is expected in Nagaland with the active participation of the youth in national building programme.
Being part of this initiative, Can Youth is working hand in gloves with volunteers from difference colleges of the state to help mobilise crowd to spread awareness on clean politics.
“Political instability in our state is a perennial problem which needs to be tackled once and for all… Yes, we know we cannot blame the government, politicians or political parties, we are all part of this big mess and we made a mistake because we haven’t done our part. But now, that perception will need to change. The ideas need to change and that should start from the scratch and the youth are spearheading this movement.”
With the youth voluntary project, Can Youth aims to bring about holistic change. And recently, the Community Youth Collective (CYC) National has brought out a manifesto on the same context in 2014 and is planning to take this for 2018 and presently doing a project on SAMVIDHAN Live the Jagrik project.
“Change is expected and we are trying to work in accordance with the manifesto,” Jenpu said.
(The writer can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org)
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