Whilst there was a definite common agreement towards the need to raise more awareness about the Act itself, a lot of young people at The YP Foundation who have been working with precisely that mandate, questioned the larger strategic direction and purpose of simply awareness-raising in general. Our focus has been on the relevance of the act in one’s day-to-day life and the issues that it can be used for. Sometimes just filing an RTI on the little things or issues that we take for granted in our system and environment can act as a catalyst for change.
I joined TYPF as a volunteer and later took over as The Coordinator of The Right to Information Branch. Nervous at first about heading a team of 15 volunteers- I didn’t realize how time flew. It was only yesterday that I had 15 wide-eyed faces staring back at me, trying to get a sense of what the project needed them to do.
A million trainings, meetings, conference calls, feedback sessions and the like later, came the workshops and discussion forum we had been working towards. It was suddenly a whirlwind of work! We didn’t realize the extent of the impact we were making, but we just kept going on, pushing ourselves and the team to do better.
It wasn’t until the end of the project that the realization of what we had achieved this year dawned upon us. It was then that emails and messages from the volunteers started pouring in, stating how much they had learnt from the project, how they suddenly realized why each meeting had been mandatory, how it felt so good when someone at the workshops looked back and thanked them for telling them how to file an RTI, how they could finally connect the dots. It was that realization, at that moment right there, that made all the sleepless nights, chaos and hard work worth it.
Working in this organization has made me discover and understand myself, my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, my beliefs and politics, and most importantly- who I really am. It’s taught me much more than I can point out. It’s made me challenge myself and what I thought I was capable of.
The Right to Information Branch