Life in rural North India brings certain challenges – especially for young people seeking education and employment opportunities. The Udaan programme, produced by Feba India, helps by bringing information and hope for the future.

As well as reduced access to services and opportunities, rural youth also tend to miss out on vital information about government support and schemes which would benefit them. The Udaan programme - broadcast 5 days a week on shortwave and 2 days on medium wave – covers a range of subjects including awareness of rights and responsibilities, education and employment. Through these programmes listeners are better equipped to make informed choices, and marginalised communities are empowered to develop sustainable livelihoods.

Here is what some listeners have to say:

“I am a daily wage earner and earn very less. My income is insufficient to meet our family needs. When I heard your programme about small business. . . I [was] motivated to start a provision store. Now I am running my own business and am making decent living.”

I understood that work is worship…

“I am a lawyer. . . My ancestors were farmers. For some reasons, I felt an aversion for my work. After listening to your programme, I decided to switch over to family traditional business. It is through your programme that I understood that work is worship and no work is higher or lower. Nowadays we are doing farming of sugar cane. Thank you for producing motivational programmes.”

Gambling, alcohol and addiction

The Udaan programme team work in partnership with a community trust in a local area in Uttar Pradesh. The trust promotes the programmes, helps organise listener gatherings and provides feedback from listeners. In this area there are problems of gambling, alcoholism and addiction, and Udaan also covers these and other health, social and spiritual issues. Through the programmes they are raising awareness of not only the physical and financial impact of addiction on the individual but how it affects families, children and the whole community.

The team report:

“Gambling is a big problem in [. . . ] village because people spend their maximum income. They are using small children to bring [them] something to eat [while the adults gamble]. Children are very keen to be involved in watching this because they get [a tip] when they bring something to eat for them. Because of this many children didn’t go to school.”

One of the people who has benefited from Udaan is *Aakash. He wanted to get rich quickly and started gambling before he was an adult. He spent everything he earnt on gambling and took on debt to keep gambling – and lost everything. Now, through Udaan, he has left his gambling habit and is living a happy family life.

A young man who returned to his village after a time in the city spoke about the differences of life in his village saying: [the] “Majority of the people [in the village] drink wine, smoking, playing, Juaa [gaming/gambling]. Our elder people, they destroyed their life but our new generation is following them. People are making local wine in their houses [because of] this children have no future – they are learning bad things from their family and community.”

This man has got together with other young people to help their village, supported by Udaan audio materials. They are raising awareness of the effects of addiction and are beginning to see people change their behaviour.

Through your Udaan programme God worked in my life.

Another listener to Udaan says: “I firmly believe and agree that God worked in my life, because I could never done it by myself to overcome my addiction, but it was through your Udaan programme that God worked in my life which has benefitted me a lot."