MUMBAI, INDIA — Cosmetics, skincare, and perfume company The Body Shop India, together with The Young India Foundation, marked National Youth Day with the #Why25 program, an event celebrating young changemakers from various walks of public life.
The event took off with a stimulating panel discussion with prominent young personalities with change-making voices. The panelists included Sudhanshu Kaushik, 27, founder of The Young India Foundation; Yashodhara Shinde, 21, Sarpanch of the village in Maharashtra; Diksha Singh, 24, Miss India finalist who ran for Zila Parishad elections in Jaunpur, UP, and Ms. Shefali Gupta, 26, Program Manager, Young India Foundation. Each speaker shared their inspiring journey of taking action toward the change they want to see in the country.
The #Why25 program is a comprehensive, non-partisan social impact effort aimed at creating long-term changes to make public decision-making and participation more inclusive of the young people of India via 3 main goals:
- Raising 2.5 million signatures for the #Why25 petition. Through 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 age barrier is one of the key obstacles 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 pressing issue. So far, 250,000 signatures have been raised in support of the petition indicating immense public support for the cause.
- Adding 25 million young voters to voter rolls 2024: The Body Shop and Young India Foundation are engaging with young voters to drive youth voter awareness by conducting Youth Voter engagements across urban and rural centers between 2023-24. The festivals and workshops will serve as venues to register and re-register young voters enabling participation in the electoral process by 2024. So far, over 1000 young voters have been registered with significant scale-up planned by engaging with universities and campuses across the nation.
- Supporting 25 youth-led grassroots development projects by 2025: 25 community projects will be supported by 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 support for youth-led community projects is planned for 2023-2025.
Harmeet Singh, Vice President of The Body Shop India said, “As a change-making beauty company which has always worked towards social and environmental impact, we believe that we have a serious responsibility towards building a better world for our future generations. With our partner Young India Foundation, we are building WHY25 as a long-term, future-forward program that empowers more young people across India, to be seen and heard in public life. We have received overwhelming support for this program so far and on this National Youth Day, we want to inspire more people, of all ages, to support us, take personal action by signing our Why25 petition and help build a better future for all of us.”
“As a country with a thriving youth demographic, we can confidently say that India’s future is bright. However, there is a glaring gap in youth representation in society. So, it’s essential that our youth participate in public life across verticals. The National Youth Day event reflected that The Body Shop’s initiatives are consciously aligned with empowering today’s youth and making their voices heard. We look forward to continuing working with the brand to achieve our larger goal of giving visibility to our youth,” added Sudhanshu Kaushik, Founder of The Young India Foundation.
The Body Shop has been a leader in its support of environmental and social impact programs in India for over 35 years. The brand has a rich history of grassroots community impact starting with its earliest global Community Fair Trade partnership with Teddy Exports, Thirumangala in 1987. The Body Shop India’s most recent community programs include Project N.A.R.I (Nutrition, Ability, Retraining, Inclusion) with Plastics for Change India Foundation (2020); End Period Shame with CRY (2021); and Light A Little Life with Miracle Foundation in 2022.