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January 2014 began with a very inspiring interaction with young minds.
I spent an afternoon with young, ambitious life skills facilitators at the Dream A Dream Foundation. This is a motivated group of young people, who juggle employment and education to help their communities access the same opportunities as them.
These youngsters shared with me their very real challenges on gaining an education, accessing the right kinds information, opportunities, and jobs. One theme that stood out from the rest of their concerns was their helplessness when it came to systems of governance that prevent them from accessing opportunities that come their way. One young man spoke about not being able to travel abroad for a tournament because he could not get his passport on time. Another example was where girls from a local school dropped out because the roads to their school did not have street lights.
Let’s build a better city, one that provides the opportunity for all ordinary Bengalurians to achieve their dreams. Image: Nandan Nilekani’s blog
There was a clear sense of being discriminated and disadvantaged because they could not use these systems effectively. Especially because they saw that the system was not accountable to them.
I realise that there is a huge potential that remains to be unlocked, and which can be done if we can make our cities more accountable, and our urban environment safe for women.
We must create better solutions with the help of technology and the commitment of our people. We talk about building a world-class city in Bengaluru: what is it that we need to do to achieve this? What can we do to genuinely empower Bengalurians, and offer more than Potemkin-village solutions: complaint numbers that quickly get overwhelmed, justice systems that get gridlocked?
This is a discussion I will continue in the days ahead. Write to me, either here or on Twitter/Facebook, with the hashtag #IdeasforBengaluru. Let’s build a better city, one that provides the opportunity for all ordinary Bengalurians to achieve their dreams.
The views expressed above are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of the views of the Mahindra Group.
Author – Nandan Nilekani
This article was originally published on Firstpost.com
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