CHILD CHAMPIONS (AWARDS)
Coming from a difficult family situation with an abusive and drunk father, living in a shelter home for the last 7 years and experiencing everything that he did in between, Neeraj has come a long way from rebelliousness, aggression, poor temperament to aspiring to become a photographer who could capture the beauty that the world has to offer. He is much troubled by the existing religious chaos in the community. He dreams of a world free of such biases, where people are as treated as people and not for the caste, colour or creed they belong to.
Neeraj, a resident at a shelter home, is an outstanding Community Youth Leader working in 20 different centres and with more than 1400 underprivileged children each week. Today he balances his studies, responsibilities and engagements with local organizations to lead sessions on Life Skills at various slums and schools, has even led activities at IIM, Lucknow. Recently Neeraj had spoken at TED X Dharavai, explaining the importance of learning on a playing field.
Now a member of the Red Brigade of Lucknow, Archana was born in a poor family that lives in the outskirts of. On 20th August 2015 a boy from her neighbourhood attempted of rape Archana. She fought with spirit and tried to catch him but he escaped. She informed her parents of this incidence. Her mother, concerned of the family’s reputation, told her to keep silence on the matter and let it be, but the brave girl was not okay with justice being denied and decided to punish him for his crime. She alone reached out to the police and lodged a complaint after facing much difficulty. The convict was arrested and sent to jail. She was continuously being threatened by the members of boy’s family to settle the case, but Archana never feared them and on every day of the trial she went to the court alone. 10 months later the boy was released on bail, and since then Archana has vowed to get him the punishment he deserves. Through this she wants to convey the message that anyone who is guilty should be ready for the punishment.
When she turned 13, Sobi Banno was forced to get married giving the societal norms as the rational and community as an excuse. A shy and diligent girl, Sobi, live in Sitapur district where girls are forced to get married by the age of 13. Despite all the pressure, she did not bulge from her stand. She worked in the Self Help group an organization for some time to earn money for buying a bicycle and enrolling herself in grade 8 of a private school 6 kms away from her village. Her parents were stubborn and refused to provide any assistance but despite all these difficulties she studied and worked hard took the grade 10 examinations, becoming the first girl from the village to have written a grade 10 examination. She is a girl full of grit and determination and is believed to bring laurels for the village, town and for the entire country.
It was a dreaded night, in the life of Manish, when somebody threw him in a sugarcane field in the dark of the night in Varanasi. Laying there for hours his foot was eaten by a wild animal by the time he was found.
Dejected and exasperated, Manish spent 13 years of his life visiting hospitals in Varanasi to Bombay, but all his strives ended last year when the operation was successful and yet again Manish, his peers and shelter home members had hope to up the young boy’s game. Due to his toil Manish was unable to attend school for 2 years. He got admission in the 5th grade that he had left two years back and without any help of tuitions and only by the guidance of his shelter home guides.
This year he was very keen and interested to study more and more to get excellent marks make a mark for him in the society. Not only in studies but with high confidence he participates in games and sports and recently he participated in a cricket match in his area and out of the six wickets he got he caught out four batsmen. It was not only the celebration of winning the match but it was the celebration of Manish’s game. Manish is meritorious child, one who loves sports and one who wants to live his life happily and to the.
AGENTS OF SOCIAL CHANGE
11 years old, Sonu, of district Badaun has singlehandedly taken the responsibility to develop his village in not just one aspect but many. This youth of class 8 has recognized the “Importance of Education” and tries to spread the same among his peers and elders of the community. He alone has managed to increase the attendance count of his school, has increased the want to learn in the children and also the adults. He holds tuitions for his fellow mates and elders who he thinks could do better with a little more help. Well aware of all national initiatives, festivals, events and happenings, he is the walking talking news broadcaster for his friends and family. Besides the intellectual development of his village, Sonu is a fervent agent of the environmental improvement too. We applaud the work of this little boy and salute his relentless efforts.
Yasmeen, a 15 year old girl, from Sitapur district is the daughter of a family bound by the tradition and society to get their daughters married as they reach 13. Yasmeen, a diligent and determined girl got enrolled in the nearby government in want to pursue education. She was doing phenomenal in academics but was told to leave school after grade 8 to get married due to societal norms. Being a girl who will not leave her passion so easily, she fought the battle with her parents and society, refused to get married and got enrolled in grade 9 through a correspondence scheme. Her fight made her realize that the children who are 6-7 years old in the village have to be given a child-friendly environment where they can learn and start questioning the norms that tie them up. She joined a volunteering opportunity in Swatantra Talim, an NGO working towards “Education of the Underprivileged”, and now works there with sheer dedication to nurture the creativity and questioning skills of young minds. She has fought not only for her but for the entire children of the village which is really outstanding and commendable.
Mitali Bhasin is someone who listens with curiosity, speaks with honesty and acts with integrity. While many in India don’t take children in general and females in specific seriously, Mitali is breaking all stereotypes.
Her love for reading about world issues and debating culminated into active service for the society at the tender age of 15. She started out with her personal projects on education, health and sanitation for members of a village community which soon culminated into full-time activism in the form supporting various causes such as feminism, poverty reduction, human rights, gender equality, reducing inequalities and many more. From being the youngest and only woman awardee at the Young India Challenge for building solutions for sustainable cities to being recognized at the Harvard University’s U.S.- India initiative and by dignitaries like Mrs. Poonam Mahajan, Ms. Supriya Sule and Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Mitali has received various accolades for her work. She is the Youth Advocate for United Nations’ Women campaign for gender equality, “HeForShe” and the Youth Advocate for Mrs. Michelle Obama’s campaign, “LetGirlsLearn”. She is also the Global Youth Ambassador for the Global Volunteering Networking that focuses on solving worldly problems faced by different communities and is now a member of the “25Under25” in the World, being the youngest from India and only from Uttar Pradesh to be bestowed with this honour.
PRIDE OF UTTAR PRADESH
Ankita Bajpai a Dancer, Actor and now a Social Activist holds a World Record in Dancing on a Matki (Clay Pot) for 5 hours and a National Record for Dancing in Water for 8 hours. Her name holds mention in the India Book of Records. A Contestant of Dance India Dance Little Masters and Seniors Top 100, She has won ‘Mele Ka Big Star’ Reality Show on BIG MAGIC Channel
Preeha Shree Lal
Preeha Shree Lal is a National Level Skating Champion. She has won more than 90 awards at an age of 13 years and has been the CBSE winner for the last 4 years. She won the Best Skater Award from U.P. Collector in 2011, 2012 on Independence Day. In the 49th RSFI, Sub Junior, Junior and Senior National Skating, she was the Winner of the Individual Champion Award, a Gold Medal in Road Race & Short Race And a Bronze medal in Time Trial. She was awarded ‘Khiladi’, the Best Skater Award, in 2011 and many more accolades add value to this talent of hers.
Kalyani Srivastava studying in class 12th in Jhansi has created an AC called the Desi AC. The cost of this AC is Rs.1850 only. Kalyani said that she wanted to make cheap and durable AC. People of her town, Bundelkhand are economically weak and temperatures are unbearable. An idea came in her mind, why not to create such AC which is accessible to everyone. Thus, the low cost A.C. was made. This AC has been selected on the national level model competition by IIT, Delhi. By inventing this Desi A.C., Kalyani Srivastava not only impressed Indians but foreigners are also quite impressed. That is why scientists of Japan also want to meet her. Now, Kalyani will share this technology with the government of Japan.
In 2013, Kulsoom Rizavi invented the Posture Correcting Chair and won the prestigious IGNITE National Award by the National Innovation Foundation by the hands of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. She also participated in a lot of other state level and inter-school science model making and quiz contests (such as Exotech, Aquasaver and Brain quiz). In 2014, she was nominated for the POGO Amazing Kids Awards. In 2015, she took part in the Google Science Fair under her project: System to cleanse the environment by adsorbents. In 2016, she was awarded the 9th Biennial Award by our president, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee. She actively takes part in I-genius scholarships and was ranked 41st nationally in Mathematics in the Indian Intelligence Test. She has written reports on artificial intelligence and stellar energy and made projects on magnetism, harvesting energy from space and hurricanes and is currently working on a mobile phone app development. Fluent in French, English, Hindi, she is currently learning Urdu and Japanese. A beautiful and sharp mind, Kulsoom has made all of us proud.