Amplifying more young voices in public life

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANSlife) Through a collaboration with Young India Foundation and Why25, a comprehensive and unbiased social impact programme to encourage the participation of Indian youth in public life, The Body Shop India introduces the Be Seen Be Heard campaign in India.

Since the last 35 years, the brand has been a leading beauty brand in India for its support of social, local, and environmental causes. With the establishment of Teddy Exports in Thirumangala, Madurai, India became the site of The Body Shop’s first community fair trade programme in 1987.

The brand has recently backed grassroots, community-impact projects like End Period Shame with CRY, which helps underserved communities with menstrual health support; Project N.A.R.I. (Nutrition, Ability, Retraining, Inclusion) with Plastics for Change India Foundation, which helped female waste pickers through the Covid19 crisis; and, most recently, Light A Little Life with Miracle Foundation, which helped kids who lost their families and primary caregivers to the recent disaster.

Beginning in September 2022, The Body Shop will collaborate with Young India Foundation to use Why25 bring forward to elevate more young voices in public life and ensure that the next generation has a role in decisions that will affect the future of our nation.

According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s report, “Youth in India 2022,” more than 50 percent of India’s population is under the age of 25. According to The Body Shop Global Youth Survey, over 43 percent of young Indians want to be heard in public life and 86 percent of young people in India want to make positive changes in the world. However, there is a growing demographic difference in public life, and young voices are underrepresented. The Why25 programme will encourage youth involvement in public decision-making over the long term by focusing on three primary objectives:

Raising 2.5 million signatures for the Why25 petition: With an Aim to collect 2.5 million signatures on the Why25 Petition, The Body Shop and Young India Foundation are calling upon policymakers to lower the age of candidacy in the Lok Sabha/Lower House of Parliament from the current 25 years to 21 years of age. The present 25-year age prerequisite is one of the key barriers to youth participation in public representation at the highest levels of policy-making. The petition aims to drive awareness as well as mobilize non-partisan public opinion on this subject.

Adding 25 million young voters to voter rolls by 2024: Engage with young voters and drive youth voter awareness by conducting over 250 Youth Voter Festivals as well as Voter Education Workshops across urban and rural centres between 2022-24. The festivals and workshops will serve as venues to register and re-register young voters enabling participation in the electoral process by 2024.

Supporting 25 youth-led development projects at grassroot levels: 25 Community Projects will be supported via the program, empowering young changemakers working on community impact projects in environmental and social justice at panchayat or municipality levels to create real, on-ground change.

The Body Shop India debuted a video for its Why25 initiative highlighting motivational young change makers on this occasion. These young activists have stepped out to make a difference and are actively working to bring about grassroots change through youth involvement and representation in public life.

Sanya Malhotra, Brand Ambassador, The Body Shop India says “As a responsible artist and citizen, I have always found great resonance to what The Body Shop stands for – from credible sustainability and inclusive beauty to gender equity and supporting local communities. The Why25 program is especially meaningful to me as it is closely aligned to my personal ambition to inspire young people – especially young women – to step up, speak out and make their voices heard. I believe that as young people, when we are empowered with responsibility and the ability to make positive change, we are all the better for it.”

(IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

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