Punarjani: Youth Against Drugs

Punarjani: Youth Against Drugs
‘Youth are not useless; they are used less. The youth are not careless; they are cared less’.
– Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda believed in the power of youth. Every young boy or girl has aspirations for a bright future. They have hopes and dreams, imagination and creativity, energy and enthusiasm. But He believed that if not guided properly and in the right direction, they can destroy a nation completely.Punarjani is a year-long project of Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, Kerala, against drug abuse that has skyrocketed in the state. CHYK Kerala has tied up with the NSS wing of Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth (CVV) to organise multiple programmes across Kerala. Project Punarjani has extended support to government initiatives against drug abuse and is closely working with the civil administration. Project Punarjani has been implemented at four levels to effectively intervene and address the issue, with the collaboration of the Narcotic Cell of Kerala Police.

Drug abuse is a cultural plague that has claimed countless lives across the world and it is a problem that is continuously rising. The misguided and frustrated youth and adults have become prey to this habit. As responsible and concerned citizens, Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) Kerala, the youth wing of Chinmaya Mission Kerala, organised Punarjani, a state-level campaign against drug abuse based on the theme ‘Youth Against Drugs’.

These four levels are:

1. Awareness campaign sessions for students

2. Training student leaders (youngsters) to conduct sessions for other students across Kerala

3. Sessions and workshops for teachers

4. Sessions and workshops for parents

As a part of this project to rescue youth from the grip of drug abuse, around 30-50 student volunteers from various Chinmaya Vidyalayas and colleges across Kerala will act as the ambassadors of these anti-drug abuse programmes. These volunteers will undergo special training sessions on substance use and addiction under the guidance of the Narcotic Cell and these students will conduct sessions and workshops in nearby schools and colleges. As youngsters they can create trust, provide support and assist other students who are at risk. The student volunteers will be awarded a certificate of appreciation in an official ceremony by Chinmaya Mission on 12 January 2023.

In connection with the campaign, a state-level Inspiration Run (mini-marathon) is being mapped out for inspiring the multifaceted movement with the support of Chinmaya Mission colleges, Chinmaya Vidyalayas, Chinmaya Vishwa Vidyapeeth and other reputed schools and colleges across Kerala. Marathons will be held in ten districts between November and mid-December.

The first mini-marathon was held in Palakkad on 27 November 2022 with around 800 participants. The Marathon was inaugurated by Shri. Anil Kumar, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DYSP), Narcotic Cell, Palakkad, and the programme was graced by the presence of Swami Jithathmananda, Br. Mukunda Chaitanya, Br. Sudheer Chaitanya and Br. Akhilesh Chaitanya.

The participants were provided jerseys and they took an oath against drug abuse before the commencement of the marathon. The run was flagged off by Mr. Anil Kumar (DYSP) at 07:00 am from Chinmaya Square. The dedication and effort taken up by the Chinmaya College teachers and student volunteers of the college made the programme well organised and peaceful. The runners were escorted by a van consisting of volunteers and the route was well-managed by the college volunteers providing sufficient drinking water, medical aid and support throughout the run. Participants covered an 8 km. route. They were duly encouraged for their participation and were awarded a medal and certificate.

The event is now being replicated across the state of Kerala under the banner of CHYK Kerala.

Chinmaya Udghosh