Aleeyah: A Teen-Run Social Business
The power of the youth has witnessed universally a surge in its dynamic utilisation to address issues that cripple society’s collective progress and prosperity.
The power of the youth has witnessed universally a surge in its dynamic utilisation to address issues that cripple society’s collective progress and prosperity. Students such as Diya Kundu, Sharanya Mathur, Eshan Uniyal of Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, are at the vanguard of this movement to uproot social and economic marginalisation in the most impoverished of areas. As part of STEP, a national youth leadership program organised by TERI University and Tetra-Pak, for which they had been earlier selected, they have founded a social entrepreneurship, which aims at rethinking business and redesigning society.
Titled “Aleeyah”, Arabic for ‘beauty’, their project provides three one month-long, profitable job terms every year to the severely exploited artisans in rural Bengal, in the village of Golabari. The handiwork produced is then displayed for sale in exhibitions in urban schools and all earnings are reinvested into the development of the same marginalised community. The students raise awareness among the craftspersons on the worth of their handiwork, inculcate better spending attitudes and empower them to stand against under-payment in solidarity. In its operations over the last one year, the youth-run business has electrified the village, repaired insufferable leaks in roofs of tens of houses, purchased raincoats for farm labourers, provided every household with one safety aid-kit, identified and deployed volunteers to equip the adolescents with knitting and weaving skills.
The project, run entirely by students of ages 14-16, continues to empower neglected communities, both financially and socially. It gives teenagers a platform to harness their passion and potential, be pioneers in the field of innovative and potent social engineering, and constantly challenge and redefine the meaning of ‘possible’.