Celebrating Young Minds

  8 min 44 sec to read
Celebrating Young Minds

BY Puja Gupta

We are often inundated with news about young minds pursuing opportunities abroad, making it easy to overlook the inspiring journey of a teenager breaking free from societal constraints in an underprivileged community. We might have encountered that one face in a crowd who wants to stay in the country and contribute to its betterment. However, when we consider the sheer numbers, the multitude of individuals venturing abroad overshadows that solitary face – the face of 18-year-old Shruti Tiwari from Janakpur in Madhesh Province. 

Shruti sees her future in Nepal. She aspires to become a lawyer to serve her community. First and foremost, she wants to continue her contributions to the community, understand the challenges and address prevailing assumptions. As an environmental activist, she actively participates in various social initiatives which shows her dedication to fostering positive change in society. By studying law, she aspires to engage with organisations and initiatives that tackle the systemic issues of the environment, racial discrimination, and access to education. She looks forward to educating the community about their legal rights and responsibilities.

Glocal Teen Hero is a platform for teenagers to recognise their initiation, creativity, and enthusiasm to empower them. It is an award dedicated to passionate and innovative teenagers who are working to create a ripple effect in society besides their academics.

Another glimmer of light in the cloud of brain drain is Bipana Sharma. Bipana, who hails form Sunwal Municipality, took a stand against child labour, advocating for their education and rights, when she was in Grade 7 at the age of 11. Her role as a child right activist at such a tender age, along with her thoughtful voice, has left the community and the entire nation in awe. Under her leadership, Sunwal Municipality was declared Nepal’s first CFLG (child friendly local governance) municipality. She has represented Nepal on various international and national platforms, advocating for child rights. Her work in child right activism has been featured in the seventh-grade book "Moral Education”. Students across the country have been reading about her accomplishments.

Santosh Lamichhane from Lalitpur is another shining star. Lamichhane returned to his home country after completing higher education to contribute to his community. His journey began when, in class 6, he attempted to create a robot and ventured into mechanical engineering. From modifying small cars into robots with a four-footed mechanism to designing a corn thresher machine, he has accomplished a diverse range of projects. In later years, he established himself as a young entrepreneur in the hotel industry. Despite political unrest in the country and a lack of opportunities, he created employment opportunities for numerous people upon his return, serving as a source of motivation for the younger generation to stay in their home country.

Samir Phuyal is another addition to this list. Phuyal, who hails from the Terai plains of Morang, sees his future in Nepal. Phuyal is the founder of Karobar, a free accounting and inventory management app. The app has been helping over 30,000 Nepali shop owners in recording their daily transactions, replacing the traditional paper khata. Additionally, he operates an IT company called Bytecare Technology, offering development services to various national and international clients. Samir has consistently been dedicated to the technology field. He is someone who has set his sights on and holds a strong vision of growth in Nepal.

Connecting with young minds across the border is Rudhvik Dharmakar from Hyderabad, India. He is a social entrepreneur from Telangana, India, and the Founder & CEO at Fleckor Media LLP. Rudhvik has achieved several milestones for his organisation, Fleckor - the only marketing & IT company to reach the EO GSEA Hyderabad Regional Finals. Furthermore, Fleckor secured a place among the Top 100 Startups for YTBC 2022 (Young Tycoon Business Challenge), where more than 22,000 applicants competed at the global level. Currently, at the young age of 18, he is working as an Innovation Fellow and an impanelled Mentor for branding and marketing at Osmania TBI.

The government, in collaboration with agencies and institutions on a global scale, can address this pressing issue by ensuring equitable opportunities, rather than merely counting the number of youth leaving the nation.

Adding to this, there is an inspiring story of a young teen girl named Erin Mushfirat, a child activist from Rajbari, Bangladesh. Her film “Mira's Dream”, which calls for action for equal rights of all children including the ones who are born in prostitution homes and are vulnerable, was one of the best films at FNF's KineMaster Theme Competition DIMFF 2021. She has represented her country in more than 12 international summits and MUNS including the World March of Women, SDG Youth Summit Bangladesh 2022, and Glocal International Teen Conference 2021. She is currently studying Health and Social Care in London with the aim of making meaningful and impactful contributions to her society. 

The trend of youths leaving the country is on the rise and this is not only the case of Nepal. Widespread political instability is leaving the young minds with no option but to move out of the country. A huge number of youth is opting to migrate in pursuit of better opportunities for personal growth and to elevate their family's standard of living. In the "fight or flight" situation, flight is inevitable if people are unable to fight in search of a safe space.

Apart from validating the exodus, we do have a pressing need to provide proper care and support. I am specifically talking about the young teenagers like Shruti, Bipana, Santosh, Samir, Rudhvik, and many more who are continuously trying to be fearless in that crowd of people rushing abroad. They are the ones who strengthen their commitment to stay in their homeland and be instrumental to the community they belong to. 

We are fortunate to have a cohort of highly inquisitive and intellectually curious young minds who not only exhibit a strong eagerness in their work but also aspire to make a substantial impact beyond the realms of academia. These promising talents are not only enthusiastic about their professional pursuits but are also driven by a deep-rooted commitment to create positive change irrespective of boundaries and pursue opportunities that hold the potential to leave a lasting and profound mark on our society. 

Addressing issues and nurturing the minds of teenagers is of utmost importance in the present context. It is high time to uplift them and safeguard the future leaders of tomorrow. Because we say, the future rests on the shoulders of young minds. Furthermore, this is a crucial consideration because if, at the age of 16, they can emerge as icons and role models on the international stage, they will undoubtedly maximise their potential and contributions. Several teenagers are engaged in impactful activities that extend beyond their academic pursuits. They possess a profound understanding of grassroots efforts and the specific needs of their communities. These young individuals are making substantial contributions to their communities in ways we might not have anticipated. They are equally competitive in education with the belief in social welfare. 

In a world often marked by divisions, Glocal Teen Hero stands out as a platform bridging local communities and the vast realm of global issues by uniting teenagers committed to positive change. Glocal Teen Hero is a platform for teenagers to recognise their initiation, creativity, and enthusiasm to empower them. It is an award dedicated to passionate and innovative teenagers who are working to create a ripple effect in society besides their academics. This award recognises and honours exceptional teens whose work is sustainable and who can think out of the box in addressing the issues and creating an impact in the society. The award has been expanded to neighbouring countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. 

In the incessant journey of connecting, networking, building, and forging, Glocal Teen Hero serves as the guiding compass behind their strong objective of weaving the thread of wisdom and progress in the community they belong to. The platform recognises the young minds, promotes the impact created by them where the boundaries between 'local' and 'global' blur into a harmonious symphony of action demonstrating that “age is just a number.” It is imperative for us to recognise the current scenario, particularly within the context of Nepal. While the situation may not be similar around, we find ourselves at a crucial juncture where securing and shouldering the responsibility to safeguard and nurture intellectual minds is paramount. While we may not have the authority to compel individuals to foster growth within their own countries, it is undeniably our responsibility to contribute to an environment where emerging talents can flourish and find a sense of belonging and enthusiasm. It is, therefore, important for us to acknowledge this pivotal role. From promoting digital literacy to initiating various teen-centric opportunities and organising engagement and exchange programs, there are numerous avenues to explore. The government, in collaboration with agencies and institutions on a global scale, can address this pressing issue by ensuring equitable opportunities, rather than merely counting the number of youth leaving the nation. Through collective effort and a shared vision, we can undoubtedly create a thriving environment for these growing young talents.

The stories of individuals like Shruti, Bipana, Santosh, Samir, Rudhvik, and Erin represent just a handful among the multitude of thousands. Their stories not only showcase a deep commitment to their work but also reflect an ambition to leave lasting and profound impacts. There are numerous other teenagers with similar aspirations who deserve recognition.

As we reflect on these stories, it becomes evident that nurturing and supporting the intellectual minds of our teenagers, irrespective of the nation, is not just a responsibility but a moral obligation that each of us must embrace at our respective levels. Whether through motivation or by creating platforms like Glocal Teen Hero. 

(Gupta is a project officer at Glocal Teen Hero)

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