'Ireland is a nation that is not afraid of change’
2018-03-01 16:45:00 -

The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin


When 12-year-old Shashank Chakerwarti arrived Ireland from India in 2006, little did he know that 12 years later he would establish and be running an organisation for fellow young people of Indian origin in his new home.


Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, concepts that seem to align with Shashank’s nature, are among the objectives of Indian Youth Ireland.


“The best moment in my life was 4 February 2016 when I launched the Indian Youth Ireland at the USI Students Summit,” he says. “Since then, the organisation has seen exponential growth and has never looked back.”


Right from his time at Coolmine Community School, Shashank has never stopped making friends with the locals. “I get along very well with the native Irish, and I have a lot of Irish friends here,” he says.


It therefore comes as no surprise that the founder and chairman of Indian Youth Ireland is fully integrated into Irish life, nor that he has turned out as a community-oriented person with the interests of others at heart.


“At the moment, my sole purpose is to be of valuable service to the community,” he explains, noting that he provides support as a youth mentor, helping them deal with different issues.


In his approach to life, Shashank takes inspiration from his father, who brought his family to Ireland for a better life and fully embraced their new home. While the family currently resides in Glasgow, Scotland due to his father’s work, Shashank says his love for Ireland has kept him rooted here.


“I would describe Ireland as my only and permanent home and I do intend to live in Ireland forever,” he says, adding how he is reminded of the similarities with his native India: both are former colonies of Britain with ties between their respective independence movements. “Our struggles for freedom have been quite similar.”


Shashank’s personal ambitions involve pursuing a Master’s in financial technology at the National College of Ireland, which he believes will open him to a new world of designing and implementing software applications and skills required in the data-driven financial services sector. 


“Ireland is a nation that is not afraid of change,” he says of the newer career opportunities available here. “It is open-minded and willing to take huge risks for long-term benefits.”


However, one aspect of Irish life that Shashank cannot abide is the relative lack of public transport available nationwide, and he would like to see the Irish Government focus more on privatisation in that and other sectors. 


“I think Fine Gael has come a long way from what they were,” he says. “With the launch of the Fine Gael Intercultural group, they have proven to the nation that they are a progressive party who believes in diversity.”


In another 10 years, Shashank foresees that he and his fellow ‘new Irish’ will be an integral part of the future of the Republic of Ireland.

- Princess Pamela Toyin has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0) 87 417 9640 or email echoesmediainternational@gmail.com





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