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To keep you informed periodically of news relating to the various themes of environmental and social justice disputes, we invite you to discover the "YFC Blog"! Here, you will find different articles on environmental issues around and ways to engage.

Updated: Aug 2

6-day residential training program in Bangalore Karnataka for those who dare to change the world

Young Changemakers Bootcamp is a six days residential training program for young activists and campaigners (between 16-35 years) who want to change the world. It teaches young people the technical and campaign skills they need to implement change within their communities.


  • Introduction to Power and Social Change

  • Define your campaign problem and its root cause

  • How to effectively plan a people-powered campaign

  • How to effectively engage and empower people

  • How to build, sustain, and scale teams

  • How to take care of yourself and your team

  • Resource mobilization and fundraising


  • Have been engaged in social change work for 0-5 years.

  • Anyone concerned about the state of the world and wants to do something about it.

  • Anyone who acknowledges the need to build power in the communities they work for or with.

  • Any young person wants to harness the collective power of their community to advocate for positive social change.


The residential program is scheduled from September 1st to 6th and will take place in "Fireflies Intercultural Center" which is a Retreat Center in Bangalore Karnataka.

The bootcamp will start at 10AM on Friday September 1st and end at 5PM on Wednesday September 6th. Please plan to arrive with enough time to be on time. Once your application is approved we will ask for your travel schedule.

Address- Fireflies Intercultural Center, Dinnepalya Village Kaggalipura, Post, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082


We recognize that our privileges and economic situations may vary and whilst we want to value our practice and our work as trainers, we are also very keen to invite diverse people and make sure this training is accessible.

For this reason, we invite you to consider your privileges or needs and consciously choose one of the following options.

>> Without Scholarship (10,000 rupees)

>> With Scholarship (any amount between 7,000-9,000 rupees)

The above-mentioned amount also includes all the food (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and accommodation costs for 6 days. The accommodation type is dorm beds.


The registration and payment process is as follows:

  1. Please fill INTEREST FORM

  2. ​Following your registration, you will receive a confirmation email or call from one of our team members with details on payment and further process.


Jafrin Akhtar (any pronouns)- Trainer

Jafrin is a feminist grassroot community organizer from Assam. Their work encompasses youth leadership development, Menstrual Health Management and Sexual and Reproductive Health via her founded venture Spread Love And Peace. They are currently working with Leading Change Network, and have been an active contributor at Haiyya and a Youth Ki Awaaz Network Fellow. On other times, you will find her engrossed in understanding how "personal is political" with a cup of chai.

Srijani Datta (she/her)- Trainer

Srijani has spent 4+ years in the youth climate movement, interning, volunteering, leading and collaborating with several social-environmental organizations. She leads the fundraising team at Youth For Climate India and has previously designed and delivered many of their training on campaign building, understanding social power, intersectionality of the climate crisis, movement building, power mapping, tactic identification and organizing. She has a Bachelors in Sociology and writes frequently on urban, environmental, political, developmental and social movement issues. She has been a coach with Haiyya for their People Power Change training in the past.

Rishabh Lalani- Trainer

Rishabh's work and passion unites in cultivating meaningful relationships for non-profit work of all kinds and at all scales - from those starting out in underserved communities to large institutions to corporate foundations. In his journey so far, Rishabh has raised >INR 100 crores for the social sector. After working independently for close to six years, Rishabh is now setting up his own venture, Kohmorehbee (Japanese for sunlight filtered through tree leaves) to consolidate his work over the years and offer institutional support to the social sector in areas of resource mobilization, grant making and leadership building.

Rishabh is also a senior advisor to the India Climate Collaborative (a multisector collaborative for advancing climate action). Some of Rishabh's past engagements have been as advisor at Rainmatter Foundation (India's largest climate philanthropy), large-scale resourcing for the GROW Fund (anchored by Edelgive Foundation), YWNXT (anchored by UNICEF) and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Rishabh is also on the board of Apni Shala Foundation and on the advisory board of Kshetra.

Yashna Dhuria (she/her/they) - Trainer

Yashna Dhuria is an artist and a storyteller. She's been engaged in the climate movement for 3+ years and is a core team member at Youth for climate India. She uses her art of Storytelling in sharing her climate story touching on different intersections like feminism, education and other social aspects and barriers. She has been invited to 20+ institutions to share her Story like UNESCO, Delhi University colleges - Hindu College, St Stephens College, Lady Irwin College etc. She has also been selected as one of the 10 candidates from around the globe for the Climate Speaker Fund Grant by Climate 2025, representing India.

They have completed their Bachelor's in Journalism from Lady Shri Ram College DU. She has also written her dissertation on "Youth Activism: Struggles & Motivations" exploring different barriers young people face in their activism and what drives them to continue their work. Yashna is also working with People's Resource Centre studying the Urban Farming issues with the pact of climate change and changing policies.

Vijay Sehrawat (he/him)- Trainer

Vijay Sehrawat is a strategist, campaigner and trainer based out in Delhi. He is a core team member at Youth For Climate India where he is responsible for leadership and organizational development. At YFCI, he conceptualized, led and supported different campaigns which have educated, engaged, mobilized, and developed leadership of young people in 30+ cities and towns of India. He's also been a part-time trainer in Haiyya, a youth-led feminist movement building organization.

At age of 15, he was introduced to the world of campaigning through his participation in the anti corruption movement in India which was a sequence of demonstrations and strikes beginning in 2011 and aimed to establish a strong law against the rampant corruption in India's political system. Vijay is passionate about community power, developing the leadership of young people and building movements that can win.




(Click to expand and read answer)

Q) Who is this bootcamp for?

This bootcamp is for anybody who wants to learn more about harnessing people power through campaigns, social movements, or NGOs. Any young person between the age of 16-35 working with any community or on any social issue is encouraged to apply.

Q) Is this bootcamp only for those working in the domain of climate change?

Q) Which language will the sessions be conducted in?

Q) When is the last date for filling the form?

Q) What are the ways to reach the bootcamp location ?

​Following your registration, you will receive a confirmation email or call from one of our team members with details on payment and further process. If you have any questions that will be helpful in clarifying whether this training is right for you, please email Thilaka on or call on 7893607777.

Chocolates made with rich cocoa are undoubtedly one of the most exquisite food items to indulge in. The origins of cocoa cultivation can be traced back thousands of years to the Southern Americans, who deserve our appreciation for introducing us to this delectable treat. However, it is important to acknowledge the bittersweet reality of its environmental impact and the various challenges it poses.

Land Clearance and Forest destruction

One concerning issue is the illegal deforestation and land clearance practices associated with cocoa farming in Western Africa, where approximately 70% of the population is involved in such activities. The clearing of forested lands not only diminishes biodiversity but also degrades the quality of soil. In tropical crop forests, new cocoa trees are often planted instead of rejuvenating the existing ones on the same field.

While farmers believe this helps replenish soil nutrients, it actually reduces yields and hampers future crop growth. Although the government in some parts of Ghana has implemented protective measures for forests, the surge in cocoa demand has still led to the destruction of 50% of these forested areas.

Imbalance in ecosystems

In 2017, NGO Mighty Earth published a report highlighting the sourcing of illegally grown cocoa by different companies, shedding light on the devastating impact on wildlife populations. In addition to deforestation, cocoa farming contributes to an increasing greenhouse effect and climate change, disrupting the delicate environmental balance. Sediments from cocoa farming also pollute waterways, reducing water supplies and severely impacting streams and rivers.

Labour and Child Exploitation

As the demand for chocolate grew, the producers in West Africa faced exploitation, receiving meager wages that often fell below the poverty line. According to a report by Dr. Fromm, farmers were earning less than a dollar for their efforts. Powerful companies exerted pressure on them to drive down cocoa prices and increase the supply chain, leaving farmers with little negotiating power. Another factor is the long and complex chain of intermediaries between cocoa farmers and manufacturing giants, which further reduces the farmers' contact with these influential players, directly affecting their earnings.

Furthermore, the industry is plagued by the distressing issue of child labor. Children, numbering around 2 million according to a survey conducted in 2013-14, are forced into hazardous work, depriving them of their rights and education. Contractors often lure these children with promises of decent pay. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has condemned this practice as the "worst" form of labor.

Finding a middle ground

It is crucial that the current unsustainable practices in cocoa farming are replaced with healthier and more responsible production methods. This can be achieved by increasing productivity through engaging local communities and minimizing the expansion of farms. Implementing a 100% slave-free norm, educating both consumers and farmers, and promoting sustainable practices will help combat pollution and exploitation. Long-term investments in farmers will improve relationships, enhance financial stability, and foster a sense of shared stake holding. Furthermore, authorities should provide better irrigation and harvesting techniques to farmers to reduce crop diseases, improve bean quality, and manage land sustainability. The utilization of solar energy for drying cocoa beans, even during the rainy season, can also contribute to sustainability efforts. These sustainable measures can alleviate market demand pressures and mitigate land degradation.

By addressing these pressing concerns and taking proactive steps towards sustainability, the chocolate industry can uphold ethical standards while continuing to delight chocolate enthusiasts worldwide.

In the present, no matter where we stay, we experience disconnect with our source: Nature. We keep on doing different things to stay connected with it, and so does this month’s guest on ‘Spotlight’!

In this edition of Spotlight, we interviewed Rumit Walia, lead Singer from Virah Band that was formed with the intention of addressing the love of separation.

Q1. Elaborate on the band's story and how you address the love of separation

Rumit: The band has three members: Utsav Bhardwaj (backing vocalist and guitarist), Tarun Kumar (percussionist) and I, Rumit Walia (lead singer), and all of us belong to the same Engineering College. Me being the super senior and Tarun being the super junior. We found our love for music common and used to jam sometimes. Utsav is someone who has been learning music since he was a toddler and is extremely talented whereas Tarun is very natural when it comes to percussion. I have been singing since I was in 8th standard, making songs, swapping lyrics etc. We also have people contributing to us, like Kamal, who is lyricist. We started out as ‘Rain Basera’ because anywhere we used to go, we used to settle in and start singing. I remember performing in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand. Later when we all got jobs in different sectors and got busy with it, we got separated from the band and ourselves. It is then we realised that we are also separated from Mother Earth and music, however the love still exists. So, we decided to explore more about love for separation and hence our band: Virah.

Q2. Typically, when we say climate change or environment, we usually think awareness is with marches, some presentations etc. So how did it occur to you about creating awareness through music?

Rumit: There is no movement without slogans. Every Climate Strike we see people have slogans, drums, speakers, and mics. People sing, dance in every movement to empower people around and this made us realise that performative arts have power. I came across this video from Rajasthan where people were protesting and demanding for their rights and they had a song about it and that was interesting. We see many people who make original songs on climate change, environment etc. We stick to creating awareness through existing songs. They have a great impact. There are songs we’ll remember on our deathbed too! Point being, we adapt to songs, we remember them, then why not use this. I remember under our organisation ‘Tears of Earth’ we did this awareness regarding wet and dry waste segregation. We went with ‘Neela nahi Geela’ (Trans. Blue is not for Wet Waste) so people don’t get confused. Then we started experimenting with rhymes, Bollywood and Hollywood songs, Classical songs such that it sticks in people’s minds.

Q3. What role do you think music plays in creating social and environmental change? How do you see Virah Band contributing to that change?

Rumit: These days GenZ, whenever they come to any events, they expect more than a lecture and discussion. So, bands like us come and provide refreshment along with some message. We are so used to listening the popular songs, but when we hear the different lyrics to the tune we are used to, we become keen on listening the lyrics and then it sticks in our mind. Discussions/ lectures last for hours, Songs- maximum limit is 3 mins, and if coke studio, then 8mins *chuckles*. To be honest I believe that the mainstream artists, for instance Ricky Kej, A.R. Rahman can make a major difference, even if they announce in one single concert that they would give up single use plastic, so many of their fans would adopt the same. Music touches heart and soul and reaches to the layman and kids. At this point we are well versed with the topics which makes us create music quickly. Hence, I believe, we create a difference where people can at least follow what has been said and contribute to environment conservation.

Q4. What do you think as a band are the issues you want to communicate with people and why?

Rumit: We as Virah, believe that two major issues that need to be addressed immediately are Climate Change and Global Peace. I belong to a farmer’s family, so it has been imbibed in me to protect the nature around me. I have been working for environment since I was in 8th -9th where I formed an organisation Tears of the Earth, which originally was title of song me and Kamal never wrote. Later, when I met likeminded Utsav and Tarun, we started officially educating people via songs as medium. We usually cover local issues with regards to gender equality, climate, caste discrimination etc. as to where we are going to perform. As an environmentalist it is important that inclusiveness is one of my core values, because I am not just standing for myself but also my brother from indigenous community. I am standing for global peace, because without that I cannot see climate change being reversed. Similarly with gender equality. For Virah, it is of great significance that we connect with people and we tailor our music as per people’s perspective and understanding.

Q5. What are your favourite locations to perform?

Rumit: A tough question *laughs*. Well, Virah loves to engage with people so technically anywhere and everywhere. We want people to sing along, dance along basically to be with us, not separate from us, so majorly public places. We have been fortunate also play at international and national level events like U.S. Embassy, Global Peace Leadership Conference, ITPO Pragati Maidan, some of the G20 meetings and even Air Force Station where officers were equally concerned about these issues which was a surprise for me.

Q6. How do you personally practice what you preach in terms of environmental sustainability and promoting unity in your daily lives?

Rumit: Personally, I believe to focus on 5 things: Roti (Food), Kapda (Clothes), Makan (House), Chal Chalan (Transportation), and Phone. Focus on buying and eating local. My diet consists maximum of plant-based food. Fast Fashion is second most polluting industry, so I ensure I am mindful while buying clothes quantity and quality. Buying stuff everyday just because it is sustainable is what makes it unsustainable. Now house is something where I adopt practices like segregation of waste, recycling e-waste and plastic properly. Probably, if possible, one can have solar panels installed. Fourth is chal chalan, mindful of travelling. Opting for less emitting options like walking, cycling, just being conscious What option is available. And lastly phone, I used to spend so much time on Instagram, mindlessly scrolling and then when I realised how much meaning less time I’m spending on it, I uninstalled it. I spend more time focusing on reading about climate, environmental conservation etc. I try my best on individual level and ask people to do the same.

Q7. Looking into the future, what are your aspirations and goals for the band in terms of addressing these pressing issues and making a positive impact?

Rumit: We as band look forward to dedicating more time to band while sustaining our professions. We would like to record our songs and release them on social platforms such that a maximum level of awareness is created. I wish we can open for bands like Coldplay and even probably be like them. I believe there are two types of people, who care too much about the planet and those who almost don’t care about it. So, I believe concerts would be a great medium to lure them in and make them present to the current problem. Regardless, we as a band will always focus on promoting climate/social justice, peace, and science through performative arts.

Q8. Rumit’s special message to readers:

I personally am fascinated with Global Peace, Environment and GeoinformaticsI became an environmentalist, a peace builder and believer of science of technology. The Ocean, The Space and The Antarctica, we share these three globally and it should be protected globally, hence Global Peace. Environment because it sustains us and Geoinformatics because that too for human benefit, believing in science and technology and innovation because a human never stops. Frankly, I mean, Earth has always recreated itself even after dinosaurs because Earth always recovers. It's always about human survival.

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