‘My message to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed.’
– Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
A young mind is the sharpest mind. When youngsters are provided freedom and are allowed to explore beyond books and rote-learning, their innovations and talents know no bounds. This holds true especially for the 14 young people selected for the Gujarat Young People Action team which is part of YuWaah – a UNICEF India programme in Gujarat.
Interestingly, the 14-member YPAT team constitutes of eight boys and six girls, representing eight different districts of Gujarat, including, Ahmedabad, Junagadh, Narmada, Dahod, Chhota Udepur, Surat, Navsari and Vadodara.
The youngest of the lot is 14 years old while the oldest is 23-year-old. This group of young people exude a vast array of talent that includes a poet, entrepreneur, innovator, disability rights activist, mental health advocate, gender equality champion, tribal youth champion, singer and so on.
Read along to know more about what these bright young creatives have to say about their passion and how they wish to positively impact and contribute to society:
Aabhas Senapati, 16 – Ahmedabad
Aabhas Senapati is a student Entrepreneur who has been working on hardware and software-based technology.
“I am passionate about building innovative solutions to create a positive impact on the lives of people, and contribute to bringing a positive change in the society,” says Aabhas.
He is the founder of ThingFinder, a tag-based device that is a compact and cost-effective solution helping Alzheimer patients and the elderly keep a track of their day-to-day objects. In his entrepreneurial journey so far, Aabhas has also co-founded several other startups like GreenJoy, Empower, Guide &Vacuate&ByUrSide to help people at large.
Aditya Hore, 23 – Surat
We are the architect of our own destiny—the philosophy guides Aditya who is a Founder and MD of Project ICW (projecticw.com). A student of Masters in Development Communication, Aditya also dons the cap of Radio Jockey & Programming Head at Radio 2 PIR, Ahmedabad.
“I have always been proactively involved with Youth activities. I particularly look forward to contributing to skill development and youth empowerment in terms of soft skill development,” says Aditya.
He has been part of Sayaji Model United Nation, MSU Space-X, KALAM YOUTH Conclave, National Service Scheme, Sayaji Startup Summit, Country-Bution: Summer Social Internship, Yugaantar: National Youth Conference, Youth For Seva Baroda Chapter and UGAM Foundation.
Dipen Gadhiya, 23 – Junagadh
Dipen moved to Ahmedabad and trained his eyes on the ‘heights’ he could achieve. An alumnus of top-rated HL College of Commerce, Dipen has found his calling in ‘making this world better’. Taking part in the national level events – like MUNs and TedX – sharpened Dipen’s perspective on issues concerning youngsters.
“Youth is power, and if channelled in the right direction, can create wonders. I want to make most of the opportunity YPAT offers for the betterment of the youth,” says Dipen.
He is the founder of ‘Sensizens Trust – Sensible Citizens’ which creates awareness on the rights & duties of citizens. Dipen is serving as secretary of Rotract Club of Junagadh currently and is also a Vice-President Elect of the Club.
Faiqah Vahora, 14 – Ahmedabad
Faiqah, a class 8 student, bats for ‘Education for All’ and believes in ‘us’ rather than ‘I’. Faiqah has done an internship under Laali fellowship and participated in MUN where she won accolades for raising issues in the education system.
“Inequality persists in society and not all can have access to education. I aspire to bring change to the education system to make it accessible to all as a part of YPAT team. We can do it together with team-work,” says Faiqah.
A teach For India student, she likes to express herself through poems and also holds poem-writing workshops for aspiring poets. Her other interests include coding, dancing and singing.
Harsh Bhatariya, 24 – Dahod
A Radio Jockey with Avaj Radio 90.8 FM – Dahod, Harsh is a popular household voice in his hometown Dahod. Lifting the best students trophy conferred by the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Harsh went on to become a Mechanical Engineer. He, however, left his job to follow his creative pursuits.
‘My team and I have planted more than 2000 saplings in schools, colleges, hostels and societies in 2019 under the initiative ‘HariyaliEkSankalp’. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit education badly. To help class 10 students in their studies, I initiated a dedicated programme by roping in teachers. This evoked a good response,” says Harsh.
Harsh wants to work for the betterment of Adiwasi youth of Dahod region, environment and education. He composed Rap Song ‘Dahod Mask Pehro’ that evoked an overwhelming response on YouTube and UNICEF subsequently shared it on its social media platforms.
Juhi Parikh, 15 – Vadnagar
A poet-cum-singer, Juhi ‘talks’ to Nature, and loves to dig deeper to learn about various species of plants & animals in her surroundings. Though shy, Juhi is exploratory by nature and enjoys travelling & trekking.
“Cleanliness and environment conversation are my key areas of focus where I wish to make a difference. I am here to learn from all of you and also give back to the community I belong to,” says Juhi.
Juhi has pro-actively worked for tree plantation in her vicinity and visited residential colonies in Vadnagar to promote the green drive to create awareness of the environment causes.
Karan Jain, 21 – Navsari
Karan Jain takes pride in being a veterinary student and terms it ‘a noble profession and one of the most challenging ones’. The 21-year-old has won a prize in extempore at the Agriunifest, a national event for agricultural universities across India.
“I believe in the concept of Equity wherein everyone gets one’s share of assistance. The greatest challenge before the youth today is skilling. I will like to work in the area of skilling for the greatest human resource in the world that is the young people and raise their voice,” says Karan.
He had participated in the prestigious National Youth Festival of the NSS at Lucknow and represented the Gujarat NSS unit there.
Kaushal Gohil, 21 – Ahmedabad
Kaushal, a young and enthusiastic social entrepreneur is the Founder & President of the SwaSarjan Foundation.
“My areas of interest are youth upliftment, women empowerment, conserving the environment and menstrual hygiene awareness. And I believe in turning challenges into opportunities,” says Kaushal.
He is pursuing B.E. in IT and has worked in the fields of providing free education to almost 700 students. In his eight years of experience, he has served at several positions like Member at Future Leaders Network, the Indian representative at Global Goals Model United Nation, Youth panellist at YET Conference, Youngest Vice-Chairman of ITI MaliyaHatina and many more.
Krishna Sodha, 20 – Ahmedabad
Nature always has been a muse for Krishna since her early days. While her inquisitive mind has created a deep interest in physics, her heart has found its calling in doing her bit for social good. Founder of two-year-old ‘Little4Change’, Krishna’s key areas of focus are women health & hygiene, environment and LGBTQ rights.
“I started with working as a volunteer for Jivdaya Charitable Trust. Thereon, I worked with CEE, NCC, Earth Guardians and a couple of other organizations. This journey shaped my thoughts and I started Little4change in 2019 to work towards my areas of interest,” says Krishna.
The soon-to-be bachelor in physics and self-proclaimed ambivert who enjoys reading, singing and calligraphy.
Maitreya Shah, 23 – Vadodara
Maitreya has strong credentials. A lawyer, researcher, and disability rights activist, Maitreya Shah has a versatile professional profile. He has previously been a Research Assistant to the National Cyber Security Coordinator, Prime Minister’s Office, India. His core interest is in the intersection of technology, disability, and human rights.
“For close to seven years now, I have been actively pursuing disability rights activism in the areas of access to justice, inclusive education, digital accessibility, and intersectionality,” says Maitreya.
He holds a BA LLB (Hons) from the Gujarat National Law University. He is also an Internet Law and Policy Foundry Fellow with the Washington-based Internet Education Foundation.
Pragya Sharma, 23 – Ahmedabad
When she is not keeping herself busy with work, she writes poems, does open-mic, contributes to social work, and interacts with street kids & migrants.
“I love to travel and explore people and places. I really look forward to working amongst people for the people to bring a positive change in society as a change-maker” says Pragya.
She is a student of Masters in Urban Management at CEPT, who wants to work for education and livelihood. Pragya has several impressive collaborations with government agencies, NGOs, and corporates – like VMC, Swachh Bharat, Medical & Teacher’s association of Baroda, NEXA, Red FM in her name all for the larger social good.
Saksham Jain, 19 – Surat
A second-year student of BSc Economics (Honours) at Symbiosis School of Economics, Pune, Saksham knows ‘team-work holds the key to success, and thus, excited to see his Gujarat YPAT teammates.
“Through this amazing initiative of UNICEF India, I want to look for solutions to unemployment and depression – the two issues ‘young India’ has been grappling with,” shares Sakhsam.
He had interned with a Surat-based NGO where he had conducted dental hygiene camps for the underprivileged for free. He also worked on corporate partnerships by contacting 50 corporates across Surat. He has also volunteered for UNV where he raised issues of gender-based violence and environmental laws.
Srividhya Suyoj, 19 – Ahmedabad
Bitten by the lit bug, Srividhya, a student of literature at Karnavati University looks at the world with a lens, curved by imagination & hope.
“I am inspired by the work of individuals and organizations who’re engaged in public welfare activities that have brought about quantitative changes in society, and impacted lives positively. I want to work towards increasing literacy levels, improving gender sensitivity & reducing discriminatory practices, and learning about policy- formulation,” says Srividhya.
She aspires to bring about positive changes as a part of the YPAT team, with diverse thoughts and diligent work. Current affairs and psychology are her other interests.
Twisha Bhatt, 18 – Ahmedabad
Founder of ‘We MenstruAct’ and director of Mindcologism, Twisha firmly believes that ‘Change is always a Chain Reaction!’ Twisha runs drives and events creating awareness of Menstruation – a taboo topic.
“My vision is to create a substantial network of youth change-makers. Entire youth community should be engaged and given equal opportunities and resources,” says the young advocate of mental health.
She emphasizes that ‘A Leader’s duty is to instil in her/his teammates’ self-confidence and efficiency. She wants to create a world where Menstruation is treated as common & natural and doesn’t force girls to hide. In her words, she strives to eliminate the stigma around menstruation.
Encouraging the YPAT members, Dr Laxmi Bhawani said, “Any country’s greatest asset is the energy, ideas and vision of its young people. As young people build their own futures, they’ll build India’s future. Investing in them is the best investment India can make. The insights from the young people represented by the YPAT will strengthen the work of UNICEF and YuWaah in developing, nurturing and strengthening catalytic partnerships for effectively unleashing the power and potential of young people in Gujarat.”
YPAT shall definitely pave way for many other young innovative minds from the state and across the country too.