Trinidad and Tobago
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Youths making a positive impact

Radica Mahase Amrit Lochan volunteers at a Sensory Santa event at C3 Centre, San Fernando. - Sataish Rampersad
Amrit Lochan volunteers at a Sensory Santa event at C3 Centre, San Fernando. - Sataish Rampersad


This Friday, we celebrate International Youth Day, a day designated by the UN to acknowledge the contributions of all youths in achieving the SDGs. I am very happy to highlight one youth who is focused on making a positive impact in TT.

AMRIT LOCHAN is a 21-year-old volunteer at Support Autism T&T (SATT), an NGO actively involved in creating opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum. He is a tassa drummer with Southside Rhythmz Tassa Drummerz. He is publicly known as DJ Vybz and when he’s not DJing he is busy running Amrit Sounds, a company that provides sound systems for any events – from music trucks for weddings and funerals to PA systems for events at any locations.

According to Lochan, “I live for music. I am heavily involved in musical entertainment. That’s my passion.

"Ever since I was small, I enjoyed being a part of the music industry. Since then, I have been playing music with different pundits and religious groups. I am talented with the tassa drums, I also play dhantal and dholak. I like to see people enjoy themselves.

"I got involved with SATT from its very beginning. I attended the same school, San Fernando Central Secondary School, as Maya Nanan, who was already a youth autism advocate. When I saw the work, they were doing, I was interested in helping out, especially with my music. I like the NGO’s vision and I saw they were doing something good for the country, trying to improve the world for autistic children. That’s when I joined as a youth volunteer.

"I volunteer with SATT because I enjoy helping people. There is not really much I can do financially, but helping with my time and music, in any little way I can, I believe that I can still make a difference. I will always be interested in helping people because I want to make my country better in whatever way I can.

"Being a part of SATT has taught me so much about autism and autistic people.

"Before I didn’t know anything much about autism. I heard about it here and there but I had never met or interacted with anyone with autism. As a youth volunteer I understand things such as meltdowns and 'stimming' and learnt how to help them with their sensory issues, etc. I am grateful to be a part of this NGO and to learn more about such a special group of people.

"I want a simple life in the future. I want to be financially stable enough to be able to own my own home and to have a small family.

"I want to be able to help others and to make others happy, not only through music or through entertainment but in general. I just love that I can make people happy. My world is simple. I am not a fancy individual or anything like that.

"I believe that youths like myself can make a difference in TT by influencing other youths in a positive way. So for example, if a youth joins SATT or any other organisation that has a positive drive, that youth can continue to spread that positivity and influence other youths. I mean, we all have friends, cousins, family – if we just influence others in some positive way, and keep that chain going, we can make a big difference. Sometimes, friends tend to lead you into the wrong path and influence you negatively but if we focus on positive influence, I think that should make the world a better place in some little way.

"I would advise other youths to stay focused. No matter what you set your mind to or what you want to accomplish in life, there are going to be many distractions. Yes, it will be difficult, but you need to do what you have to do and stay positive. There are many resources on the internet or through organisations, even friends that could help you stay positive and keep you on the right track.

"Get your little inspiration, your little motivation – sometimes it might take long to accomplish what you want, sometimes it may not – but rest assured that success will be there once you don’t give up.

"As a country, we need to focus more on the contributions that our youths can make. There should be a bigger push in schools and communities to help youths. There are youths out there who are ambitious and have big visions – we need to inspire them so that they would be motivated enough to work towards their goals.

"Some of the youths I talk to, have their visions, but they doubt themselves, and the reason is because they don’t have good mentors to guide them and to show them how to accomplish their goals. Too often when adults can’t see the visions that youths have, they try to change them or change their focus, but what youths really need is someone to support them in what they want to do, once it’s nothing illegal or negative of course.

"Also, as youths we need to help each other and support each other. If you help me out and I help you out, both of us may not be going down the same road, but we will be going down a successful road, and, in the future, we will be able to help more youths.”

Lochan will be performing with Southside Rhythmz Tassa Drummerz at Platinum Party, a fundraiser organised by Support Autism T&T, on August 13 at Xpace nightclub.

He will join a cast that includes SuperBlue, Master Saleem, Vee Ram, Rizaan Ali, Captain Kendel, ClimaxXx and Jonny, alongside DJs such DJ Dynamic, Joe Brien, Kadeem Suave and DJ Optimus.

Tickets are only $100 and are available at all Persad’s De Food King supermarkets and Bright Idea stores.

For more information call 791-1320.