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Former RYC Chair for Asia is outstanding young achiever
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Former RYC Chair for Asia is outstanding young achiever

Red-ribbon hero Sarika Katoch Panwar, 30, social worker, Kangra valley

Red-ribbon hero Sarika Katoch Panwar, 30, social worker, Kangra valley

Sarika Katoch, our former RYC Chair from Asia region, has been selected in the final 10 most outstanding youth achievers below 30 years by the Hindustan Times.

Katoch has spread awareness about HIV/AIDS in the rural villages of Kangra valley, establishing more than 80 Red Ribbon Clubs in villages.

Her contributions to rural development have been recognised globally – she has represented India at Commonwealth Youth Program, Commonwealth Secretariat, became chairperson of RYCs of Asian region countries to represent Asia at Pan Commonwealth, Commonwealth Youth Minister Meeting, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting et al. In 2009, she was honoured as the Young Champion by Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Commonwealth.

Goal-getter: I belonged to an orthodox, rural family from a place where it was not easy for women to work. When I learned about some villagers discriminating against HIV+ people and their families, I wanted to work towards spreading awareness. As a woman, I was not welcomed initially, but slowly, due to consistent efforts, people started listening to me.

Youth icon: Yogender Chaudhary. During his tenure as the executive director of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, he established regional adventure centres in 15 states and promoted village tourism and rural marketing, which boosted rural youth employment in various states.

How can youth of the nation fuel positive change?
You don’t need to change the whole world. Look around you. Take charge of small responsibilities. Make sure you have touched the sky, but also ensure that you have given back to the soil.

Is it a good time to be young in India?
Yes, India is one of the emerging super powers of the world. The country’s growing economy has created ample job opportunities for young people. Education and healthcare have greatly improved. Youngsters who want to be entrepreneurs have a bright future due to a booming IT industry, infrastructure and other sectors.

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