19 teenagers have been shortlisted for Ashoka Young Changemakers for addressing mental health, to economic inequality, to online education. These candidates have been shortlisted for their social initiatives in the fields of environment, human rights, conservation, healthcare, education, and agriculture. These initiatives have not only generated awareness but also changed the livelihoods of people around them.
Aaryani Sahay,Sanskruti Dalavi, Vanika Sangtani, Sreelakshmi VP, Aditi Gera, Farhana Roshan, Omkar Ganu, Sagar Seva, Priyaswara Bharti, Upasana Ravikannan, Lavanya Rathi, Aniket Gupta, Aranyo Ray, Arjun Pandey, Mudit Pathak,Akarsh Shroff,Kavya Gupta, Subhadeep Purkayastha,Rishabh Pratap Singh,Zain Samdani are among those who have been shortlisted for the award.
Ashoka Innovators for the Public has selected 19 changemakers from 12 states, including rural areas and small towns, for the second global edition of Ashoka Young Changemakers. Aaryani Sahay, the Bangalore girl who struggled with anxiety at the age of 12 co-founded Let's Talk project to spread awareness about mental health among adolescents by conducting sessions in both rural and urban schools in Karnataka. Sanskruti Dalavi from Maharashtra and her team implemented rainwater harvesting techniques over the last three years to raise the water level in her village Rajasthan girl Vanika Sangtani and her team started digital learning platform called AgED to reduce the stigma around education for older citizens, in order to empower education for all ages. Digital workshops on topics such as passion, self-awareness, technology, mythology etc were conducted by her. Sreelakshmi VP from Kerala founded Quit to Care, no smoking campaign to create public awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco consumption. Realising the strengths and shortcomings of hashtag activism, Aditi Gera from Madhya Pradesh started Empowerette to help underprivileged girls through a mentorship programme to develop leadership and support emotional health, with attention to holistic growth. Telangana girl Farhana Roshan, started ‘Targib Group’ to address the issue of girls' education in her community, leading by her example, she reached out to parents and persuades them to let their girls’ study further. Targib has managed to support 50 girls by getting them admitted to residential schools to date. With aim to create awareness on the indispensable plastic accumulation in the oceans, Omkar Ganu from Maharashtra, started Sagar Seva. He and his team conducts dissolved oxygen (DO) testing of the local rivers. To create awareness and advocate child rights by conducting events via online and offline mediums, Priyaswara Bharti from Bihar, set up Bihar Youth for Child Rights. Deeply empathising with the problem of inequality in education, Upasana Ravikannan started her initiative GoPaadhai when she was 16, to support underprivileged schools with resources to sustain quality education. Tele-upchaar, set up by Delhi girl Lavanya Rathi is aimed to provide the best care in the easiest way possible for those who have limited access to basic healthcare facilities. The team has supported over 200 patients with low access to primary healthcare in under-resourced senior citizens homes and inner-city slums. Indian Science & Technology Campaign was started by Delhi boy Aniket Gupta, to promote experiential learning and skill development in STEM subjects. With 12 team members, their initiative has reached 20 different schools benefiting over 20,000 students and 200 teachers. From an early age, Aranyo Ray, West Bengal witnessed the havoc created by pesticides on farmers and he decided to set up NanoCide & SoyaSafe by developing safer, eco-friendly, and effective alternatives. With the support of his team of 11 members and local farmers' cooperatives, he was successful in impacting the lives of more than 1800 marginalised farmers and their livelihoods. After understanding the severity of transphobia in Indian society, Arjun Pandey from Delhi founded Kicking Gender Boundaries when he was 16. They conduct football matches as a medium to promote inclusivity and breaking taboos. The initiative has impacted more than 2000 people from the LGBTQIA+ community in Delhi. Mudit Pathak, Uttar Pradesh started Artistic By Nature to destigmatize art as a career and to promote the artists around him by providing a platform to explore opportunities. The team has helped more than 1000 artists in finding gigs by giving them volunteering, freelancing, and internship opportunities. He also established Yogi Gang, an incubatory venture for early-stage entrepreneurs. With an aim to utilize the power of social media as a force of social good’, Akarsh Shroff, Bangalore, has set-up Spark to activate young people as ‘Impact makers.’ Through his organic micro-influencer outreach strategy, Akarsh and his co-founder have inspired more than 400 students with no prior volunteering experience and have managed to impact the lives of more than 5,000 orphans and first-generation school-goers in Bangalore. With the experience of volunteering for a river cleaning drive, Kavya Gupta realized the need for environmental education to be more experiential and focussed on mindset. He started Bhavishya Foundation that creates these learning journeys by continuously engaging young people in various activities like tree plantations. To date, they have taught more than 2000 children to date and planted nearly 3000 saplings through plantation drives in Uttar Pradesh. Subhadeep Purkayastha, Assam, started EcoAlarmist initially with online videos and progressed to organising offline campaigns like plantation drives, sustainable donation drives, food wastage campaign for restaurants, and sanitation programs with school students. Today with a core team of 5 and more than 50 volunteers, they have influenced several start-ups, local businesses, and organisations to incorporate sustainability practices in various aspects of their work. Growing up in Uttar Pradesh, the problem of abandoning non-lactating cattle was a daily sight for Rishabh Pratap Singh. He empathised with the problem and started Anima Drive to solve this issue. With a team of 20 student members and six rural women, Rishabh is making it financially viable for farmers and Gaushalas to take care of non-lactating cattle. Witnessing his uncle suffer a stroke and get paralyzed, Zain Samdani from Telangana identified the need for affordable and effective rehabilitation devices and services for such patients, he developed, a therapeutic glove that mimics muscular motion in one limb and moves the paralysed limb. He built a core team of 4 members and partners with a therapeutic centre to help more than 50 patients regain sensations and recover 30% faster.