Meet the Indian teens recognised by Ashoka Innovators Young Changemakers for driving social change

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Meet the Indian teens recognised by Ashoka Innovators Young Changemakers for driving social change

Be it Steve Jobs and Malala Yousafzai, or Thomas Edison and Martin Luther King Jr, outliers have proved time and again that it pays to think differently and challenge the status quo. “In a world that keeps telling almost every young person, ‘you can’t’, it’s critical to have a flow of stories and role models that show ‘you can’, and that provide an array of ideas and methods.

Ashoka Young Changemakers provides powerful, carefully identified young people and the journey of a young person who has “their dream, their team, and the ability to change the world”.

About the organisation

Innovators for the Public, a non-profit organisation, was founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 based on the idea that the most powerful force for good in the world is the social entrepreneur. Starting in India in 1981, Ashoka is leading the way to an ‘Everyone is a Changemaker’ world. It is the world’s largest network of changemakers and social innovators, with more than 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 93 countries.

Recently, Ashoka picked 12 teenagers from across India out of the 1,200 applications for the first global edition of the Young Changemakers programme. The initiative’s aim is to focus on the role of teenagers as influencers and co-leaders as a means to bring about large-scale social change.

“Ashoka Young Changemakers help society visualise the new definition of growing up as a changemaker,” Yashveer adds.

So, who are these Indian changemakers driving social change? The 12 teens shortlisted from India—Anugreh Sehtya, Sanjana Dixit, Tanmayi Shinde, Akash Singh, Chandani Grover, Wasudev Ganesh Prasad Mishra, Radhika Joshi, Disha Shah, Kavin Vendhan, Apoorvi Bharat Ram, Naisargik Lenka, and Kaajal Gupta — have come up with enterprising startups that are spearheading change in the social sector.

SocialStory spoke to seven of these teenagers who are doing their bit to address various issues, be it in waste management, providing employment to vulnerable sections, or destigmatising mental health, through their initiatives.

1.  Wasudev Ganesh Prasad Mishra (20), Nagpur, Maharashtra

Wasudev Ganesh’s Silaigram is an ecommerce platform that sells cloth bags made by underprivileged women in rural areas, thus helping them achieve financial independence.

“My aim for Silaigram is to walk towards a green and clean community by creating clean and sustainable daily-use solutions. At Silaigram, we upcycle waste from garment factories and decor shops to produce beautiful jholas and kurtis,” says Wasudev.

Silaigram comprises a team of four members, including his mother who has nearly two decades of sewing experience.

2. Disha Shah (19), Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Disha co-founded Inner Goddess & Big Sister Programme when she was just in Class XI. “My main aim for Inner Goddess was to increase financial literacy in women in the investing space through workshops and campaigns,” the now 19-year-old says. Her mission was to see women become financially independent by making them realise why investing is a necessity and not just a luxury.VS enterprises

Inner Goddess conducts workshops in corporates, societies, and villages and has been able to impact over 5,000 women. The team consists of five core members at present.

Meet the Indian teens recognised by Ashoka Innovators Young Changemakers for driving social change