Five Ashoka Young Changemakers have been recognized with the prestigious Diana Award, a recognition for highly inspiring efforts by a young person for social action or humanitarian work. Established in the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged between 9 to 25 years can receive for social work.
Mphasis, an Information Technology solutions provider specializing in cloud and cognitive, through its CSR arm, the Mphasis F1 Foundation, extends its support to Ashoka, together with whom they work to recognize Ashoka Young Changemakers to be role models for millions of young people in the country, demonstrating the skills needed for the future for the good of all.
The Ashoka Young Changemakers who have been recipients of the Diana Award are Aaryani Sahay, Aditi Gera, Akarsh Shroff, Aranyo Ray and Kavya Gupta. These young people were selected as Ashoka Young Changemakers earlier this year for their social initiatives and their commitment towards inspiring young people around them to practice change, and further realize an Everyone a Changemaker society, where everyone realizes their power to lead.
“We are honoured to be part of the journey of these inspiring young individuals, and hope that through our continued support to institutions like Ashoka, we are able to empower more budding changemakers across the country. We will continue to extend our CSR efforts to worthy causes such as the building of a community of youth leaders, who have the potential to shape the world of tomorrow,” said Srikanth Karra, CHRO, Mphasis.
Ashoka with support from Mphasis in India has been working towards searching, selecting, and building a community of teen changemakers over the last two years. These Ashoka Young Changemakers are role models and co-leaders who work with institutional partners to help society re-imagine a world where every young person can grow practicing to be a changemaker.
Dr. Shruti Nair, Director – Youth Years, South Asia, Ashoka said, “Our Ashoka Young Changemakers’ dedication to bring change in their communities is exceptional. We at Ashoka are committed to building an ‘Everyone a Changemaker’ society in India, where young people realize their power to bring change and inspire others. The Diana Award is a testament to the impact created by our young changemakers. We are grateful to Mphasis for supporting us in creating this community of powerful role models.”
More details on the work of the awardees are as below:
- Aaryani Sahay – Aaryani started Let’s Talk to spread awareness about mental health among adolescents by conducting sessions in both rural and urban schools in Karnataka. Aaryani and her co-founder have built a team of 18 members and 80 volunteers. Together, they have conducted 102 sessions and impacted more than 3000 students so far.
- Aditi Gera – Aditi started Empowerette to help underprivileged girls through a mentorship program to develop leadership qualities and support emotional health, with attention to holistic growth. Along with her 14 team members, Aditi has organized weekly mentorship sessions with a cohort of 60 girls from rural parts of Madhya Pradesh.
- Akarsh Shroff – Akarsh started SPARK (Socially Productive and Responsible Karnatakans), to utilize the power of social media to activate young people as ‘impact makers.’ Through his micro-influencer marketing strategy, Akarsh and his co-founder have built a team of more than 300 volunteers and they now run several youth-led projects that focus on academic mentoring, communication skills and leadership development for orphans.
- Aranyo Ray – Aranyo invented a bio-pesticide called NanoCide specifically for jute farmers, to address the havoc unleashed by pesticides on farmers’ health and the environment. With the support of his team of 11 members and the help of a farmers’ cooperative, Aranyo was successful in impacting the lives of more than 1000 marginalized farmers and their livelihoods in West Bengal.
- Kavya Gupta – Kavya started Bhavishya Foundation that creates learning journeys by continuously engaging young people in various activities like tree plantations. With a team of 12 members and more than 50 volunteers, they have taught more than 2000 children to date and planted nearly 3000 saplings through plantation drives in Uttar Pradesh.
All Diana Award winners are shortlisted through a rigorous nomination process with entries from across the globe and post evaluation, to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: vision, social impact, inspiring others, youth leadership, and service journey.