Teenagers in search of Greener pastures

By Joydeep Das Gupta

Team Stopwatch

A young team of students is selling plants door to door in the heart of the city Kolkata and has become the talk of the town. Yash Kumbhat and his friends are selling the plants so to give the residents some healthy air to breath.

We may think that the idea is not at all new and pollution is a big problem, is all known to us, but what makes these teenagers different from us is they didn’t just thought rather they have plunged themselves to solve the problem.

Atleast they have started the movement, so that others can join and help in solving the problem for one and all. As the Stop Watch’s only message to the people is that if you crave change, help create it – do not just complain about it. Stop Watch is the name of the organization, under which the group of youngsters is making the difference.

Students of classes 7-12 with StopWatch volunteers

This small step for the conservation of environment was just the beginning where they have sold around 200 plants to the residents of flats in a housing complex, now Yash and his friends are planning to expand the selling plant initiative in other residential complexes of the city too.

The beginning of this project with just an idea, from a school research project to a big cause the journey so far is amazing and inspiring. While speaking to News Sense Stop Watch founder Yash Kumbhat said “I officially registered Stop Watch as a nonprofit February 2016, but I have been working on the concept for a while before that. It all started with a research project for school where I had to write a paper on climate change and renewable energy, which resulted in me discovering a hidden passion for the environment, and so I decided it was important to act on this passion. The environment is severely undermined in this country, and very few people know much or care about issues of environmental importance – even our government is not proactive with its policies on things like climate change. So, I thought it’s high time the youth take matters into their own hands.”

The group has been has been working on various environmental projects such as clean up drives in the city’s largest park and lake – Rabindra Sarobar. An educational initiative in partnership with a Chennai based NGO called Bhumi, where the group visits children’s homes and discuss the environment with them. The next big project, which is now a work in progress, is a solar electrification program that the group is looking forward to carry out in eight homes in a small village near Kolkata.

Yash Kumbhat Cleaning

The core team consists of about 14 individuals from schools across the city, as well as some members that have graduated to college now. They are all equally invested and responsible for this venture and the bond are so close that now they have become a family of sorts.

The group tries to meet once a week and to plan on the ideas and dividing responsibilities. After the solar projects they have other plans too, like campaign for water conservation and taking off illegal hoardings from trees.

The support from seniors and family members is no doubt is an inspiration factor. According to Yash, as this is a youth driven initiative and we like to do everything ourselves, that’s how we run operations here, our guardian are extremely understanding and proud of all of us.

For running a noble cause as of now the members, out of their own pocket money and a collective pool of money, has formed a sort of bank, which they manage project wise. But for the solar project they have partnered with an organization in the United States that is helping them to raise funds in US, at the same time they are also collecting donations from wellwishers.

The expansion of this initiative from a concept to an organized platform is now having its natural expansion, as many of the core members are going to college next year, both abroad and within the country and thus each member will be an ambassador of this noble initiative outside the state and the country, taking StopWatch to national and international platforms.

No effort is small whatever little it may look. We just dare to start, if we start we just not bring inspirations for ourselves rather we also become example for others. To support the group, find them on their Facebook page and the website.