From collecting funds to purchase oxygen concentrators for COVID-19 patients to gathering money for conducting a mass vaccination drive for the transgender community, we have seen several teenagers fearlessly raising funds to help others in our country.
Now, a Gurgaon-based teenager is on a journey to help underprivileged children obtain access to mainstream learning.
Avni Singh, a sixteen-year-old who is pursuing an International Baccalaureate diploma, wants to make education common for every unprivileged kid.
According to a report by The New Indian Express, she started a project for the students who didn’t have the access to education.
When the lockdown began last year, I remember complaining to my friends about online learning. But, on reading the news, I saw so many students needed online education, whether it was better or worse than offline education. So, I started Project Neev to help Happy School in Gurugram. These students used to visit my school and we would take them around for guided tours. They were keen students but did not have access to the education that all children in India deserve.
Currently studying in the 11th grade at Shri Ram School in Gurugram, Singh heard of the Future Leaders Programme at 1M1B (1 Million For 1 Billion) Foundation last year. After clearing a series of interviews, she bagged an one-year full scholarship for the programme.
For the uninitiated, 1M1B is a social innovation initiative associated with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The year-long programme helped me build my initiative from the ground through interactive workshops and mentorship. I was mentored in figuring out the logistics. However, due to COVID, the last step, the 1M1B Impact Summit at the UN headquarters in New York City, has been delayed.
She also revealed that she provided phones to an NGO under her project and even raised ₹1.1 lakhs.
I also provided phones to 10 others at Noida-based NGO Parkshala. Initially, I faced several hurdles. It was difficult to get in touch with schools as I did not get any responses to my emails. However, I learnt two things — it always works to annoy people and build personal connections. Both factors ultimately landed me a partnership with Happy School. But my fundraising options were limited in the lockdown, so I resorted to traditional crowdfunding, which was not as engaging. I would follow up with my neighbours, friends and relatives every day, and managed to gather Rs 1.1 lakh.
She then threw light on how everyone should be a part of social work as it helps to bring smiles to many faces.
I think that social work should be a part of everyone’s life. When I first delivered the phones to Happy School, I met a young student who continued to educate himself despite not having access to a phone. He would borrow a device from neighbours or go to his friends’ houses to see the homework. Then we got him a phone, and he was able to continue his education from his own home.
The teenager, who is planning to take her project to 80+ schools and colleges, is in conversation with Mumbai’s Sanjivani School to help their students.
Wherever I find people in need, I help them. But it is tough to find time for social work with studies, music classes, and extracurricular activities, so I allocate an hour per day to social work. On some days, I devote even more time.
We definitely need more inspiring people like her.
Note: All images are taken from YouTube unless specified otherwise.