PEOPLE: The young deputy

Avikesh Kumar at a bee farm in Navua. Picture: SUPPLIED.

At 24 years of age, Avikesh Kumar could be the youngest person appointed as deputy chair of the Serua- Namosi District Advisory Council. He said the appointed indicated that Government recognised the importance of youth leadership and participation in decision making within communities.

Avikesh was appointed deputy chair on November 18. He said he felt honoured to be given the position at such a young age.

“Getting selected to this position is a sign of progress within our communities in recognising youth leadership,” he said.

“It also highlights the important roles young people play in community development.

“I am happy that the Government also continues to recognise the importance of youth leadership and participation in decision making within communities.” He said during his tenure, he would focus on empowering youths and women.

“For me personally in my three constituencies, I want to work in the area of youth and women empowerment focusing on healthy living through eating healthy food and sports, promoting values of integrity and promoting economic participation among women and youth.

“We can only build a strong and resilient community when we collectively raise our hands to lead and be part of processes.”

The former Fiji National University student considers trying to find acceptance continuously over compensating things to get validation from others as one of his major challenges so far in life.

In 2016, Avikesh was invited by Transparency International to attend a workshop on United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which marked the beginning of his journey in the advocacy space and youth development.

“In 2017, at the age of 19, I was selected to be part of the Ship for the World Youth Leaders Program organised by the Japanese government which has been one of the most memorable and exciting parts of my journey. “In this program I along with 10 other member delegations represented Fiji to this program which represented 200 other participants from 10 countries.

“Further, in 2018 I was part of the World Alliance for Religious Peace Summit in South Korea, in 2019 I was appointed to be the secretary of the National Youth Advisory Board, 2020 I joined the US Embassy Youth Council as their focal point.

“And now 2021, I am the deputy chair of the Serua Namosi District Advisory Council and will be joining the Commonwealth Student Association Electoral Board.”

The Navua born also launched the Bula Pulse this year, an enterprise which focuses on beekeeping and prioritises community development through youth engagement.

“Through these commitments, I feel one of the major challenges is managing my time especially with family and myself.

“I have been through depression and also attempted to commit suicide but for me, I believe this has been part of my process and becoming stronger, more resilient and preparing to become who I am meant to become.

“I honestly don’t feel like I have achieved anything major in life yet, I feel this is just all part of my process that’s molding me and helping me prepare.”

He encouraged everyone not to lose hope and to work hard in life.

“The implication of COVID-19 has been a reminder of the importance of volunteerism, I would like to highly recommend youths and adults to join an organisation or a group to help your community build back better and stronger.”

He said the quote “trust in your process” was what pushed him to work hard. “In life we will go through struggles and problems, but just see these as opportunities of growth.

“Embrace the struggles and problems because this is just a process that is helping you to become who you’re meant to become

“Through your process it’s important to reach out for help and build a strong community around you because at the end of the day we are only as strong as the community we build around us.

“Be brave and be strong and don’t be afraid to engage in new opportunities.”

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