Meet the 26-year old Deepak Ramola, a young leader who works to transform life lessons and philosophies into innovative ways of learning. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Project FUEL and was a speaker at UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day event #Youth4Philo. Read his story and get inspired.
“The word ‘philosophy’, which finds its origin in the Greek Language and means “love of wisdom”, reflects and underlines my whole way of living. For me, philosophy is a mantra, the cornerstone principle, often traced back to when one is faced with overwhelming or underwhelming situations. It is a personal, moral compass that guides you towards the real you and what you really want, and this, amidst the noise and expectations of the world. To me, philosophy entails the belief and the living principle of a good life. Because what defines a good life is a subjective matter, each person can decide what their philosophy is.”
Youth represents a substantial part of Project FUEL efforts to empower rural and urban communities around the world. Deepak thinks that the only way forward to a strong future is to convince youth that they have the power to create it.
“I dream of a world where not everyone has to invent something or be famous to be significant and heard. My mother was pulled out of school in grade 5 by her grandmother, who didn’t want her to go to school or study with boys or rather study altogether. I never really believed that because my mother was one of the most smartest and humorous people I know. She had not gone to school but learned from life. Life had been her teacher and classroom. This inspired me to create Project FUEL and to explore what other people had learned from their journey.”
Deepak works on various initiatives in the framework Project FUEL and each of his projects aim at shaping belief systems, breaking stereotypes and harnessing the collective power of youth in different communities. To name a few, the ‘Wise Wall Project’ aims to document, design and paint rural wisdom by drawing upon young energy mines from all across the world to celebrate and honor the learnings of rural community. Through his initiative ‘Under the Hijab’, he motivates young people across the world to look at women wearing hijabs not as a threat but as an inspiration to people who have held onto their cultural roots. Through the project called ‘Out of Syllabus’, young students at schools are being encouraged to acknowledge the learnings of their teachers and ask about their life lessons.
“Project FUEL started with a personal quest for understanding what people were learning, and with the firm belief that everybody had a valuable learning, a piece of advice or a word of comfort to share with the world that was not necessarily documented or celebrated. FUEL stands for Forward the Understanding of Every Life Lesson. It inspired me to forward the human wisdom in most understandable, unique and innovative ways, apart from documentation. Each of our projects look at shaping belief systems, breaking stereotypes and harnessing the collective power of #youth present in our communities. My philosophy is, ‘In a world full of stars, try to be a constellation.’ The way I bring that to my routine is by always looking for ways to collaborate with other people. I want to make and fulfil constellations of ideas, people, places, projects and dreams.”
The UNESCO Youth Programme works to ensure that talented young people’s ideas and skills enact real change in areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence. Youth are no longer just beneficiaries in the organization’s work, but essential actors in finding the solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.