Jenpu Rongmei: Against all odds

From an angry frustrated alley lad to a struggling student made bitter by a tragic death in his family, Jenpu has walked life’s thorny path
Zhovezo Resu
Dimapur | May 28

 

His torrent past is his present day impetus of looking at life in a different light.

 

“When people ask me to forget the past, I reply that I cannot. You see, when I am annoyed or frustrated; I look back into my past. It challenges me to begin new things, see new horizons,” 30-year-old Jenpu Rongmei says with his ever-smiling disposition.

 

From an angry frustrated alley lad to a struggling student made bitter by a tragic death in his family, Jenpu has walked life’s thorny path and through sheer girth and forbearance, has emerged triumphant.

 

Founder of Community Avenue Network (CAN) Youth, erstwhile Young’s Club, an NGO which provides guidance to school drop outs and empowers under-privileged youth, Jenpu is the face and voice of hope to inspire new beginnings for scores of under privileged youngsters and school drop outs whose life has derailed.

 

Jenpu candidly admits he is an amazing transformation, going by the hardship and wretched circumstances he had to experience.

 

“I didn’t have a happy child hood. Life was harsh, frustrating and annoying with problems flying all around. Initially I started blaming y family, the society for the fate that had me struggle every step of the way,” Jenpu recalls.

 

Despite the grim scenario, Jenpu intrinsically felt the tug in his heart to study, become someone and look after his family, relatives and the society. To start with, he began earning on his own to pay his tuition fees.

 

“I initially worked in a PCO during night shift at the railway station and as part time for ‘Pacific Smiles’ as door to door salesman during the day,” he says. However, life’s pressure was still following him. “At one point, it came to such that I just couldn’t take it anymore. And I could study only till Pre-University.”

 

Life dealt a more severe blow with the death of his brother, David who was a victim of drug abuse. It changed his perspective of life and death and of the value of human life. “It was a turning point, I didn’t want to see any loss of life after that,” he confides.

 

Under such circumstances, Jenpu joined an NGO-Bethesda Youth Welfare Centre in 2005 where he saw the mirror of his own life and of his brother in the eyes of many struggling youth. “This was an eye opener for me. What I saw there, of young people crying out for help, I realized I had to do something for them.”

 

Jenpu then worked at North East Drug HIV Training Centre (2009-10), where he came across similar plight of lost youth and fallen dreams calling out for rescue.

 

His experiences with the different NGOs and the tragic death of his brother became the driver for Jenpu to start an NGO himself in order to reach out to the under privileged youth and school drop outs struggling to rise from the debris of their fallen existence and tell them that ‘life doesn’t end here.’

 

The writer is a student of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore and is interning at The Morung Express.

 

Brief on CAN Youth

Community Avenue Network (CAN) Youth was established in memory of the founder- Jenpu Rongmei’s late brother David, who was a victim to drug abuse at a very young age. The NGO work with the young children exposed and bought up in an environment of neglect by parents who are alcoholics, drug users or infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Jenpu Rongmei, founder of Community Avenue Network (CAN), a youth-led nonprofit based in Dimapur, Nagaland in the Northeast region of India.
Jenpu Rongmei, founder of Community Avenue Network (CAN), a youth-led nonprofit based in Dimapur, Nagaland in the Northeast region of India.

 

 

Youth voluntarism (young agent) is one of the key focus of CAN Youth, to work and engage with young people from different walks of life to engage in community service and build personal growth by abstaining from anti-social activities and transforming into active and productive citizens.

 

Major activities of CAN Youth include voluntary blood donation, organizing youth leadership program and events, organizing sports and game, health camps, residential workshops on various social issues, drug & HIV/AIDS awareness, child and women program. CAN Youth was awarded the ‘Nagaland State Best Youth Club Award’ in 2013 from Nehru Yuva Kendra, Nagaland, ‘Most Trusted Partner 2012’ in relation to voluntary blood donation from Model Blood Bank, District Hospital Dimapur. The NGO is affiliated to Nagaland Alliance for Child and Women Rights and Dimapur Voluntary Blood Donors Association.