Story of 5th Space:
Building Inside-Out Youth Leadership by Creating 5th Spaces
In 1992 a wave of violence and rise in communal thinking forced a group of young professionals in their early twenties, to stop observing passively and to take action. What started as a small campaign led in colonies, schools and colleges to mobilize public opinion against violence through creative mediums like theatre, music, art and conversation, later began to flow as Pravah. We became a registered organization in 1993 with the vision of supporting youth centric spaces. We now work with more than 1000 civil society groups and have played a formidable role in shaping the movement of youth development and leadership in the country.
With dwindling employment opportunities, shrinking presence of youth voices in mainstream discourse and set rules and power play in spaces occupied, has led to fears and anxieties. Thus youth face financial, social and psychological exclusion. As a society we have ‘legitimized’ four spaces for young people - that of family, friends, career / career-related education , leisure and recreation. There is on the margins – a 5th Space - a space where young people need to feel in-charge, heard and invested in for their own sake. In the 5th space youth discover themselves by engaging in social action. We argue that the 5th Space must be re-positioned as a space that focuses as much on the self-transformation of youth as it does on societal transformation through them.
The 5th Space:
The 5th Space Flow:
We believe that as a society we have ‘legitimized’ four spaces for young people - that of family, friends, career / career-related education and leisure or recreation. There is on the margins – a 5th Space - a space where young people discover themselves by engaging in social action, a space where they engage in active citizenship, volunteering and much more. We argue that the 5th Space must be re-positioned as a space that focuses as much on the self-transformation of youth as it does on transforming society through them.
How can we create leaders at large scale through the magic of 5th space?
A different approach to creating such large scale leadership - not by teaching alone but by creating spaces that are:
Co-created and co led with young people
Facilitating cross border peer engagement
Experiential learning pedagogy for self to society journeys
Safe and non judgmental spaces