YUVA 3rd Anniversary: Speech of Executive Director

A very warm welcome again to the YUVA 3rd Anniversary Celebrations.

It is three years since our organisation was created. Time to reflect on the speed in which we have institutionalised internally, begun to change narratives nationally, and championed youth development in Mauritius.

Time also to remain humble, knowing the scale of the challenges our country faces; the numbers we could help if resources were limitless; and knowing the resilience and endurance that our young people show in their own journeys.

As a young person, along with my team, I committed myself to empowering the next generation of young leaders. Since 2015, YUVA has been dedicated to resolving Mauritius’ most pressing social issues – education, health, empowerment and employment.

When we launched, we wanted to change the narrative on Mauritian development. We wanted to reframe the agenda so that youth development would no longer be centred on grey heads. We wanted to show that Mauritius’ transformation could and should be driven by young people. In other words, we wanted young people to be the leader of today instead of treating them as leaders of the future.

Let us reflect on how our organisation has grown and how our ambitions have risen to the challenges, are moving towards achieving scale and country-wide impact.

Our early years explored the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, to identify where we could have the most impact. We forged meaningful partnerships and ran successful programmes.

Our focus now is the YUVA Leadership Academy – our commitment to empowering 10,000 youth leaders and entrepreneurs across Mauritius over the next few years, through training, mentoring and networking opportunities. Our goal is to develop the future Mahatma Gandhi, the next Nelson Mandela, and the Mauritian Bill Gates.

Just last week, YUVA was conferred the “Africa Leadership Award 2017”. Awards and recognition are not the goals of YUVA. A plaque on the wall won’t change Mauritius but it does show our devotion. The Africa Leadership Award 2017 is an applause of the governance at YUVA and is dedicated to all members, volunteers, donors and beneficiaries. Without you, we are nothing!

Our work is rooted in our core philosophy of Mauritianism, which states that young people’s role is crucial for Mauritius’ development – and that young people need to actively participate in the socio-economic and socio-political landscape of the country.

In just three years, we have had direct impact on thousands of people, empowering individuals to create jobs, influencing policy and becoming the leading driver of poverty alleviation across Mauritius.

I am grateful to everyone who has been part of this journey for his or her immeasurable dedication to driving our mission. In addition, my heartfelt thanks go to our frienemies and adversaries for their constant dedication in strengthening us over the years. Finally, thank you to all our believers for their continuing support of our growth and initiatives. We could not have come this far without you all.

Thank you.

Krishna Athal, Executive Director of YUVA
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YUVA

Registered in February 2015, YUVA started as a group of enthusiastic individuals, and today it has mobilised thousands of young people with a simple aim of creating a better future for children and youth of Mauritius. At the heart of YUVA’s duty lies the conviction that the collective destinies of the human race are bound together.

One thought on “YUVA 3rd Anniversary: Speech of Executive Director

  1. My dear YUVANS,

    It’s with a lot of pride and emotions that I keep on admiring all the pictures which were taken at the occasion of YUVA’s 3rd Anniversary. Frankly speaking, WOW! What a beautiful journey you did! What a successful pathway you all did together! What a great pride you all represent for our little country and especially for our Youth! How to be indifferent in front of all that wonderful achievement you all did together, with an inspirational and wise role model that you had in the name of your Executive Director, Krishna Athal?

    I also read the speech that Krishna pronounced on that day. I loved it so much that I couldn’t help reading it again and again. It’s one of the most beautiful, sincere, constructive and inspirational speeches that I have ever read from a young leader, a speech which should be as memorable as speeches made in the past by some leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and his speech “I have a dream”, and John F. Kennedy, with his speech “Ich bin ein Berliner”.

    No, YUVANS, I am NOT exaggerating when I am saying that, despite all the love and admiration that I have for you all and for your beloved leader. There are lots of points for which I keep on claiming that this speech is worth to be popularized, especially to put our little country on a high pedestal. Here are the key sentences that made that speech really worth to be considered:

    “We wanted to reframe the agenda so that youth development would no longer be centred on grey heads” : I fully agree with you, Krishna, though we shouldn’t either deny that it’s also thanks to our elders that we are here today as youngsters, in the good meaning like in the bad meaning. Why am I saying that? See the example of a baby: when he comes to the world, how will he manage to walk if he isn’t helped by his elders to make his first steps? This is why we shouldn’t forget our elders who helped us making our first steps during our youth journey, and this is what I wanted to mean by the good meaning of the elderly. However, where I join YUVA’s point of view is that unfortunately, the elderly also made a lot of mistakes in the past too, while showing us the pathway to take, and they showed us also some ways which are no more applicable and saturated for the youngsters that we are. Here I am focusing especially on the Mauritian government, with the same old politicians, the same old way of governing, the same old speeches, the same old system and so on. How long will Mauritius keep on being saturated like that? And how can Mauritius change its way of thinking?

    The answer is simple: It’s thanks to its young people, not in a passive way where they should wait for a change with a red candle in the hand, but in an active way by becoming change makers, and this is what YUVA is already doing since three years. This is also why in that speech, there was another sentence which I really appreciated saying, I quote, “we wanted young people to be the leader of today instead of treating them as leaders of the future”. Yes, that sentence really makes sense. Why to wait for tomorrow to become a leader, when you can be a leader TODAY, regardless to the age group you belong to? As a comment to one of Krishna’s pictures during his interview in Bhojpuri, I mentioned that there is no age to be a leader, since age is just a number. See the class captain for example: Despite being a student, as a class captain, isn’t he or she already a leader?

    Another sentence that I have really appreciated is, I quote, “Our goal is to develop the future Mahatma Gandhi, the next Nelson Mandela, and the Mauritian Bill Gates”. The common point behind those three people is that they are above all self-made people who embarked us in a powerful journey together with them. Krishna Athal is someone I sincerely appreciate, guys, and having had someone like him as your leader is a real bliss, as you have been leaded by a great school of thoughts in him. Krishna Athal always reminds me of Michael, the fictional character portrayed by Ajay Devgan in the Bollywood movie YUVA, a true change maker who fights without limits against the corrupted and saturated political system of India, though he knows he will be challenged so many times by those grey heads, and though he is putting his own life at risk for his country. And when he mentions about the goal of developing the future Mahatma Gandhi, the future Nelson Mandela and the future Mauritian Bill Gates, it applies not only to Krishna, but it applies to all the YUVANS and to all the YOUNG PEOPLE of Mauritius. That’s what I call a true leader.

    Another paragraph captivated my attention and that I really enjoyed, I quote:

    “Our work is rooted in our core philosophy of Mauritianism, which states that young people’s role is crucial for Mauritius’ development – and that young people need to actively participate in the socio-economic and socio-political landscape of the country.”

    Please, I require all your particular attention to that paragraph, which is another very important one, especially focusing on the core philosophy of Mauritianism. It’s very important that we redefine our Mauritianism, which has been lost because of the numerous controversies and mistakes of our governors since Mauritius was proclaimed Independent in 1968. It’s very important that we remember our Mauritian heritage, from the roots to the fruits, on how our story started, how we are existing today on the world’s map, but also how our history and existence has been damaged because of bad governance which has been ruining the country for years and blackened the beautiful paradise shape that we represented. Without our active participation in our socio-economic, socio-political, but I would also add as well in our socio-cultural landscape, how will we see the changes and the restoration of the lost Mauritianism spirit?

    Finally, here is another extract for which I especially crushed and which kept on making me smiling: “In addition, my heartfelt thanks go to our frienemies and adversaries for their constant dedication in strengthening us over the years.” I cannot help smiling, since it reminded me of two experiences that I have had personally with Krishna. The first experience concerns someone who auto-proclaimed himself a leader, and who kept on talking about Krishna in such a pejorative way that, at the end, it was not Krishna that this so-called auto-proclaimed leader was describing, but it was the reflect of this so-called auto-proclaimed leader’s own image when he stares at his mirror every day. Maybe he has to change his spectacles or to see another optician for that, don’t you think so? LOL! The second experience concerns a debate I had with Krishna since Donald Trump was nominated as the new former President of the United States. I will never forget two things that Krishna told me: The first thing is that by criticizing Trump, all his haters are contributing into making free publicity about him and about increasing his popularity. This is exactly the same thing that your adversaries did with you, and which made you stronger and bigger each and every day. Another thing Krishna told me and which will always remain in my mind forever: Make the worst pupil of the class as the class captain and he will become a role model for the classroom. I found an interesting article which I recommend you all to read and which perfectly summarizes what Krishna mentioned. And this is a proof again that, wherever you come from, whatever the walk of life you have been doing, it’s not necessary to be a perfect person to be a leader. We are all imperfect and different, and it’s our imperfections and differences which bring a touch of originality in our leadership journey, and which makes that all together, we can create unity within the beauty of diversity, as Krishna always said.

    Again I am wishing you all a Happy 3rd Anniversary. Never forget once more Freddy Mercury’s words, “We are the Champions, my friend, and we’ll keep on fighting till the end”, because “The Show Must Go On” 🙂

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