A Voice for the Young
With 10 million girl guides and girl scouts from 146 countries across the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. “However, the total membership of the organisation in the State is quite low, only in the 100s. So my immediate priority would be to kickstart the organisation and ensure that more children – both boys and girls join the organisation,” says Kavitha Kalvakuntla, member of Parliament who has been elected as the chief commissioner of Scouts & Guides.
Also the founder president of Telangana Jagruthi, Kavitha wants to be a voice for the young. It is her responsibility, she stresses. “I would say that a certain branding needs to be done to attract boys and girls to this organisation. In today’s world of social media, youngsters are increasingly getting addicted to spending more time in front of the computer, rather than engaging in extra curricular activities outside their homes. Sometimes with both parents working, they feel it is convenient to have children inside the house rather than going for a 10-day camp. So I would definitely try to impress upon parents to encourage children to partake in outdoor activities, especially that of scouts and guides,” says the 37-year-old.
Though she was never part of scouts & guides, Kavitha says, “I definitely do have brief knowledge about it. I have closely observed the organisation doing community service.”
Her philosophies and strategies for scouts & guides underline humanity and brotherhood (Vasudhaivakutumbakam) among the youth and especially the girl scouts. “Bringing about a revolutionary change in the attitude and mindset of the society with special focus on girls is the strategy. This organisation has given me a platform to interact with a large number of girls. As I always tell any young girl anywhere in India, sky is the limit for achieving. And in today’s day and age there are no boundaries. I would like them to erase the boundaries that society places and of stereotyping their roles and I would want girl-guides to achieve their dreams and aspirations,” she says.
The young politician feels strongly that women bring in a different kind of sensitivity to a lot of issues. “There are areas that can be translated into policy inputs when looked at from a women’s perspective. Politically there may be differences between leaders but on women’s issues I believe, at the local level, at the state level and also at the national level there will be a certain sense of unanimity among at least the women fraternity. So in the long run it is good for democracy,” she says.
The young politician born in Karimnagar, grew up in Hyderabad and did her engineering from the US. She then chose to be actively involved in the upliftment of the poor. She launched the Telangana Jagruthi. Kavitha has been at the forefront of the Telangana agitation through that. “I was able to travel the length and breadth of the State, meet countless number of people, listen to their experiences, struggles etc. All these experiences, helped me to be better prepared for the role of a TRS woman and also while standing for the parliamentary elections.”
Talking about the barriers young women face while in politics, she says, “Where a ticket to a legislature, or a Parliament seat, or at least a panchayat member and other bodies is considered as a benchmark of achievement, the competition is very intense. So sometimes in that process, the most talented, or the most deserving person may not get the result they expect, because a lot of factors typical to Indian politics come into play. So people might get dejected. This intense competition and the limited availability of chances are one of the major deterrents that are there in politics,” she concludes.
There are different age groups, starting from as early as three to five years- called Bunny for both boys and girls, five to 10 years called cubs for boys and bulbul for girls, 10-15 years called scouts for boys and guides for girls and 15-25 years called rower for boys and ranger for girls
The Scouts and Guides definitely get an opportunity to participate in Jambooree’s- camps, be volunteers for various social service organisations which are engaged in a variety of causes. It adds to the overall development of children.