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Teen saves girl from abductors; wins Rani Lakshmibai Bravery award

In our intolerant India, a young Muslim girl has managed saving a Hindu girl child from her alleged abductors in Agra.

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India is intolerant. India doesn’t respect Muslims. India doesn’t respect women. Probably.

However, here’s Nazia, proving everyone who consider India intolerant, non-respecting towards Muslims and women, who has won Rani Lakshmibai Bravery award for saving a girl child of 6 years from abduction.

Fifteen-year-old Nazia, studying at Saghir Fatima Mohammadia Girls Inter College, Agra, while on her way back to home, remotely heard a girl crying for help. Heading in that direction, she saw two youth allegedly trying to drag a girl child on their motorbike in an attempt to abduct her. Showing presence of mind, knowing that any minute wasted can mean dire consequences, she ran over to the child, pulling her on her side in a tug-of-war manner, ultimately freeing her. Nazia’s action and reaction had panicked the two, forcing them to flee. Being cautious and foresighted, she took the girl to her school to report the matter to the principal, so as to avoid any further attempts of abduction or harassment. On the way to alleged victim’s school, it came out that she was Nazia’s junior in the same school and it also turned out that the girl was a Hindu.

The school informed the police, who then performed the necessary and legal formalities.

While the duo has become good friends now, their families too share friendly relationship now, not even once thinking about the religious differences.

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As Nazia received her award, which included a cash prize of Rs 1 lac, on women’s day, 8 March, she reportedly said that she had no time to think but act, and that’s what she did, saying that it was “like a tug-of-war match for about two minutes. While they tried pulling her away on the motorcycle, I held her with all my might.”

Well, it is people like Nazia and many others, who are a part of our so-called ‘intolerant India,’ who still are a human being first, think, act and behave like human beings, before they start becoming, thinking and acting like Muslims, Hindus, Christians, etc.
Intolerant India?

Kudos to Nazia for her actions, kudos to her family for instilling the right values!

 

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These Teen RJs From Kerala Are Making Quarantine Bearable

Class 8th & 9th student RJs of Kerala are motivating the society with their radio show to keep morale high until school reopens

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The COVID-19 outbreak saw a growing camaraderie amongst people, that was somehow either lost or buried deep. Children, especially, have shown such will and desire to help and do something for the society and for those in the front line.

Take these 50 Kerala kids of Narayanan Nair Memorial Higher Secondary School, Chelembra, in Malappuram, for example. These heroes are engaged in the relentless pursuit of awareness programmes in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Before the full lockdown was announced, every day at 1:30 pm on school days, these students of VIIIth & IXth standards used to take up the role of radio jockeys (RJs), producers and spot editors for different school activities.

Even after Coronavirus forced the schools to shut, these champions have refused to sit idle in the comfort of their homes. They coordinate programmes, record their voices on their parents’ phones and forward it to their editor. The editor then compiles and forwards the inputs to the teacher who is in charge of the Radio SPC, because, well…the show must Go On! After this, the programmes are parked on various social media platforms!

“Post lockdown, Radio SPC is broadcast only twice a week. The RJs record on their phones and the students send to us the voice notes of their activities quiz programme, poetry, stories, reviews and speeches. The programmes start with a bulletin, followed by a message on Coronavirus disease by a teacher or PTA president and then awareness initiatives,” says Krishnapriya, a class IX RJ. 

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Poems, essays, craftwork, drawings on COVID-19 impact, awareness programmes on safe distancing and responsible behaviour as well as hand wash techniques have wowed their followers. 

The RJs also dedicate songs to their schoolmates and send them birthday greetings for they do not know how long it would take the school to open its gates again.

Class IX student Yelena connects the recordings of her schoolmates into a chain and converts it into a video format, including the logo of the radio station and the jingle.

“The programmes cover not just creative works of the students, but of the teaching and non-teaching staff too. Special programmes on commemorative days, a quiz with prizes, news bulletins and current affairs programmes are aired generally. The students are very keen to be part of the radio during the lockdown time,” informs Yelena.

Their dedicated efforts are just not confined to the internet. Some kids even prepare buttermilk for cops and volunteers while others stitch masks for mass-distribution.

ScooNews is a little wet in the eyes seeing the spirit and dedication of these young minds. These teenagers prove that the world is in good hands. 

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My Journey to Shaping a Fairer World

I see myself as an ORDINARY boy with an EXTRAORDINARY desire to work for the promotion and protection of human rights, without which the world cannot achieve sustainable development.

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I see myself as an ORDINARY boy with an EXTRAORDINARY desire to work for the promotion and protection of human rights, without which the world cannot achieve sustainable development. We are yet to grant every global citizen basic human rights such as equal opportunities to live, grow and prosper in the world. Admittedly, the state of human rights across the world is far from satisfactory, and this is what drives me to contribute towards making the world a more equitable and just place to live in.

The United Nations has set forth a broad set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seek to further advance the realisation of human rights for all people everywhere, without discrimination. We have 17 goals with one global aim. We have to achieve these goals by year 2030, also known as Vision2030. The first time I became aware of UN SDGs was when I was 13 years old and was studying in Grade 9. I participated in the exhibition ‘Sajak Naagrik, Samridh Samaaj’ (Vigilant Citizen, Capable Society), organised by my school Ahlcon International, New Delhi in the year 2016.

Inspired by the exhibition’s message to spread the word about SDGs, I created short YouTube videos on each of the 17 goals of sustainable development and addressing various social issues like Girl Child Education, Bullying, Climate change etc. Apart from YouTube, I also hosted various talk shows, conducted surveys and campaigns, hosted Skype sessions with students in different countries and motivated them to take action at local and global levels.

Simultaneously, I also founded a Twitter community @SDGsForChildren in 2017 to give the unique platform to children across the globe to CONNECT, CREATE and COLLABORATE for a better and sustainable world. Since then the community has not only impacted millions of children but also inspired many educators to initiate their journey of SDGs in their classrooms. SDGs For Children is now incorporated under the Canada Not-For-Profit Corporation Act to support Agenda 2030 globally. (http://www.sdgsforchildren.org)

I take pride in my role as one of the pioneer Indian Ambassador for the TeachSDGs project, initiated by the Global Goals Education Task Force, a volunteers-based worldwide network of teachers established in 2017. I am the only Student Ambassador among the first group of over 100 distinguished global educators. I share my perspective and ideas with the members. I am also an active member of the TeachSDGs UN Communication Committee. I have also been selected as Student Ambassador for various other global projects like SOS4LoveProject, Climate Action, Goals Project, and Looking 2020, Socio Story, Kindness Project etc.

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I have also been recognised as ‘Global Goals Champion’ by GSMA that represents the interests of nearly 800 mobile operators worldwide and Project Everyone, a non-profit organisation, to spread the global campaign – ‘SDGs in Action’. I am appointed as the AFI (Ariel Foundation International) Youth Ambassador and their Youth Representative at United Nations.

To me, there cannot be anything greater than serving humanity. I consider myself the most fortunate child that my volunteering efforts received recognition from no less an institution than the United Nations when I was invited to represent India as the Indian Youth Ambassador at the 14th Annual International Human Rights Summit, staged from August 24-26, 2017 at the UN headquarters, New York. The moment I reached the global podium, which happened to be on the day of my 15th birthday, all my nervousness vanished. Rather I felt zeal to speak unstopped about Human Rights that are actually so important for all human beings but unfortunately have been severely undermined in many of the poor nations.

My speech on Human Rights at the UN received a standing ovation from the distinguished gathering. I felt myself on top of the world, after discovering a meaning in my life. For the very first time, I saw so many people doing so much across the globe, which made me contribute similarly to make this world one, giant home for humanity.

Thereafter, I participated in WIPRO-XUB Sustainability Summit, hosted by Xavier School of Sustainability (XSoS), Bhubaneshwar, India and was bestowed with the award for the best paper and video presentation on Sustainability. I was in Grade 10 at that time and the event happened just two weeks before my board exams. Thanks to my mentors at school and my parents who always helped me and motivated me to continue my journey in spite of all the hurdles and the challenges.

In the year 2018 when I was 16 years old, I thought of penning down my own book, which could help others to know more about UN SDGs and I started working on my debut book, ‘Shaping A Fairer World with SDGs and Human Rights’. The book is the culmination of my experiences, initiatives and intense involvement in social transformation. The book graphically disseminates information about SDGs and Human Rights with engaging design and artwork. In witty, playful and colourfully tabulated content, the book narrates the stories of those who have contributed towards new ideas and innovative narratives to effect real change. It has now become part of daily curriculum and is being used as a daily reference guide for teaching United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in many of the classrooms across various countries.

One of the educators in Colorado posted the review on Amazon – “ 'Shaping a Fairer World with SDGs and Human Rights’ is a next generation guidebook that provides both students and teachers with a foundation to effectively engage in Vision 2030. In addition to providing the history/timeline of the creation of the SDG movement by the UN, this consciousness-raising resource includes a breakdown of each SDG and its targets, relevant vocabulary and concepts, inspiring stories, globally – minded activities, interactive visualisations, awareness-building mind maps and so much more. If you care about our people, our planet, and our future, you won’t miss this book. Highest recommendation.”

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Another initiative under SDGs For Children organisation is my podcast– ‘Shaping A Fairer World’. The podcast is an attempt to connect educators, students and parents together and to share their voices and unheard-of stories across the globe. I believe, “Nothing can stand in the way of the power of voices calling for CHANGE.”

Recently I received the Princess Diana Award for my exceptional work to demonstrate the ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities. I have been acknowledged as one of the Most Influential Young Change Makers around the world. The Diana Award is the longest running award given to outstanding young people for selflessly creating and sustaining positive social change in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, UK.

To sum up, I am blessed that my journey of childhood happened to be at Ahlcon International School where students get good exposure beyond academics. I am really grateful to my Principal, teachers, mentors and my parents for actually believing in my ideas and me. They have shown a never-ending trust in my will and capacity to work for human rights and make a difference in the lives of people. 

My desire to make a difference in the lives of less privileged people has kept me going. I feel greatly inspired by these golden words of legendary anti-apartheid crusader, Nelson Mandela:

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”

About The Author :

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Ayush Chopra is Founder, SDGs For Children.

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Introduction to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We have 17 Goals set by the United Nations with one Global Aim. We have to achieve these Goals by year 2030, also known as Vision2030. If people are treated fairly and respect each other that will make a big difference too.

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Let me introduce the Sustainable Development Goals also known as SDGs or Global Goals. We have 17 Goals set by the United Nations with one Global Aim. We have to achieve these Goals by year 2030, also known as Vision2030. It is not so far away so we need to act right NOW. If we don’t waste food, water and electricity that will help protect our planet. If people are treated fairly and respect each other that will make a big difference too.

I am Ananya Chopra, also known as Wonder Ananya on the digital platforms. I have recently authored and published a travel book called ‘Save Our Planet’. I finished writing and publishing my first book in just 15 days during my summer vacations. It was really a new journey for me and I enjoyed it a lot. The book is now available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Save-Our-Planet-Travel-Activity/dp/1076924778/

I am a Grade 7 Student and currently live in Canada. I am passionate about working for the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. I started my journey with SDGs at my Ahlcon International School, India when I was in Grade 5. I learnt about SDGs through my school’s annual exhibition. Studies became interesting when my school teachers started incorporating SDGs in our daily lessons and we all started learning about the Global Goals in all our subjects – English, Hindi, Social Studies, Science, Math and Music etc. The homework was fun, as we needed to do a lot of research online about the activities, which were linked to one or more SDGs. I wish every child gets similar opportunity at their school. All the work and activities become more meaningful when you link them with Sustainable Development Goals.

I did my first campaign in my school in year 2017 on SDG10 i.e. ‘Reduced Inequalities’ on the International Day of People with Disabilities. It was a disability awareness campaign for students of Grade 3, 4 and 5. The purpose of our campaign was to make students realise the need for including the disabled people in society. One never knows in whom a Stephen Hawking or an Albert Einstein is hidden. As we forge ahead into a brighter and a better world, we need to hold the hands of the disabled people and take them along with us. It is time to make India a discrimination-free and inclusive society where the disabled have the right of space like all others. It’s time for a better tomorrow. I must say, the campaign was a big success and the volunteers who helped me in the campaign went back home with a huge amount of feedback and appreciative words from students and teachers.

My brother Ayush Chopra, who also got inspired with the work on SDGs at Ahlcon International, started his community ‘SDGs For Children’. It is now a Not-For-Profit organization. I support him for all his campaigns and work around the global goals. I had also participated in many other global projects like SOS4Love and the recent Goals Project with Dr Jennifer Williams, one of the co-founders of TeachSDGs. There is a lot of learning and global collaboration possible in the world of education.

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Through my work on Sustainable Development Goals, I have been invited for several podcasts. A recent podcast was on Social LEADia. I shared about the journey of publishing my book ‘Save Our Planet’ in this podcast. My book is a travel book and it is for kids who want to be creative while travelling or want to have some fun in their free time. They can spend their quality time while enjoying different puzzles designed by me in this book. I enjoyed my journey of writing my first book and also learnt many things while working on my dream, like the art of writing a book, creating puzzles and most important of all the publishing process. And, last but not least, I learnt to have patience and was determined to be an author one day. I never took help from any publishing company and I am a proud self-published author now.

I promote UN SDGs through sports as well. I am passionate about playing squash. My family and my coaches helped me to learn this sport. I have won cash prizes and trophies at State and Provincial Squash Tournaments in India and Canada. Sports were very well supported at Ahlcon International. I believe sport is a powerful educational tool to achieve sustainable development. Let’s understand more –

•           SDG 3 (Good Health and Well Being):

Sports help us to stay fit and do regular physical and mental exercise, which means a healthy lifestyle. 

•           SDG 4 (Quality Education):

Sports help to learn different human values like discipline, care for others, respect etc. We learn to enjoy victory and face loss with pride. And then we learn from our mistakes. Sport is a powerful educational tool.

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•           SDG 5 (Gender Equality):

Boys and girls get equal opportunity to play.

•           SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities):

People with different abilities also get fair chance to play different sports and show their skills. Sport helps social inclusion.

•           SDG17 (Partnership For The Goals):

Team Sports help to learn team spirit and care for the partner. Sport teaches teamwork and partnership. 

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 I will always remain grateful to Ahlcon International School for awakening and sustaining my interest in the noble causes and empowering me to dream.

 And, how can I fail to mention Martin Luther King, who championed civil rights and immortalised himself by his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech:

 “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

About The Author:

Twelve-year-old student Ananya Chopra is a self-published author of ‘Save Our Planet’ – http://www.WonderAnanya.com

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734 youngsters shortlisted for complete scholarship under the KHELO INDIA TALENT DEVELOPMENT Scheme

The Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that “transformational changes have been introduced into Indian sports. Catch them young is no longer a slogan but is visible in our action. “

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Following the successful conduct of the Khelo India School Games, Sports Authority of India took another significant step towards the development of sports earlier today, cleared 734 players for a scholarship programme under Khelo India Talent Identification Development scheme. The Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that “transformational changes have been introduced into Indian sports. Catch them young is no longer a slogan but is visible in our action. We are developing a sports system that connects local potential to global podiums, that encourages every Indian to have sports as a part of their lives for entertainment, education or excellence.”   

The salient points of the meeting are as following:

A talent identification committee was formed comprising Arjuna Awardees and DronacharyaAwardees to shortlist and propose the names of the beneficiaries to the High Powered Committee, which cleared the above numbers after due diligence. The scholarship programme is designed to take care of their expenses including training, development, boarding and lodging and tournament exposure apart from offering them out of pocket expense allowance.

Salient features of the High Powered Committee meeting are as follows:

The talent spotting and age verification of the selected players have been driven by the scientific and trusted method through TW3.

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An annual stipend of Rs. 1.2 lakhs will be given to the players on a quarterly basis to meet their out of pocket expenses, treating injuries and even smaller but very important elements like local travel for themselves and their parents/ family members

  • Support and skill training at KHELO INDIA accredited Academies. For the first time ever, in order to create a strong ecosystem for nurturing the talent, various private, State and Sports Authority of India academies have been accredited. The High Powered Committee accredited 21 non-SAI academies as well. The list of accredited academies is available on the SAI website.

    The plan is to develop more such academies so that young athletes can get access to the best training without having to travel long distances. The accredited academies will look after the training, boarding and tournament expenses of the athletes.

It was also decided that the academies will be divided into three categories. To encourage excellence, there will be gap analysis which will offer these academies opportunities for upgrading. At the same time, there will be a strong review mechanism for academies on a periodical basis. Academies that do not maintain desired standards and fulfill the performance criteria, may be delisted.

The High Powered Committee also decided that a strong performance management system would be in place and performance be rewarded. If athletes are not fulfilling this criterion and coming up to the requisite standards, they may be weeded out from the academies. 

It was also decided that athletes must report the injury immediately so that timely rehabilitation can be offered. The high-powered committee also decided to put into place a robust performance monitoring system to get the best out of everyone involved in the system.

Image courtesy – Khelo India, used for representational purpose only.

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Texas men’s tennis team sweeps Pennsylvania

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[blockquote footer=”Abraham Lincoln”]If friendship is your weakest point, then you are the strongest person in the world[/blockquote]

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Gathering great you’ll it. Light all may. Wherein two they’re cattle night called likeness upon. Hath days he yielding whales morning to creature. Two Seasons second saying let third fourth tree doesn’t stars divide. They’re can’t fruitful is sea over that unto created days. To. Beginning don’t it second. Isn’t give earth created waters thing void, third.

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Youngest Sindhi Singer from Billabong Mumbai Takes Inspiration from Taylor Swift

Job of a writer takes you to places. It brings you across many people, many experiences, many memories. Luckily I am a writer! And this new media takes me places!One such experience was to meet songstress Drshika Advani. Travelling across

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Job of a writer takes you to places. It brings you across many people, many experiences, many memories. Luckily I am a writer! And this new media takes me places!

One such experience was to meet songstress Drshika Advani. Travelling across the nation, singer Drshika has an aim in her mind … cultivation and propagation of her culture, a culture that is now gradually losing its base … the Sindhi culture.

In an era, when the youth prefers raps or Western music, here’s one who goes back to her roots. The language she prefers to sing in is not even Hindi, but Sindhi, a dialect not even Sindhis are fluent in.

And what surprises is … Drshika is all of 12 years of age!

Finding her Guru in not one but three, Kajal Chandiramani, Kavita Sahini and Ashok Jain, Drshika has been singing professional ever since she was 6. However, the moment you see her, she doesn’t come across as a star at that age! She meets you in the most comfortable in her skin, dressed in comfortable pink shorts … lacking any starry tantrums.

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Wonder how she does it, but she well manages excelling in opposites. While she is a budding Sindhi singer, she is in love with Taylor Swift! While she is getting trained in Kathak, she’s already good at Jazz. While she is a school Basketball player, she has patience enough to be a photographer, she’s mastering the art of sketching. What more, the girl is winning handwriting competition in her school for the past 6 years. Phewwww!!

Here’s an excerpt from our chat, lets honestly not call it an interview, with this the Youngest International Artist in Sindhi Singing.

ScooTalks: Drshika, you have been singing since your childhood. 6 years of professional singing now. How has been the journey been uptil here?

Drshika: Abhi to it has not been that long a journey, seems I had just started. 6 years only. And I started on this mesmerizing journey along with my Nani Maa. She was a classical singer, listening to her was a enticing. Mumma too loves music. Both of them have been the greatest source of inspiration to me!

ScooTalks: So, your Nani Maa and Mumma, teachers in family, eh!

Drshika: Ah well! Family is always the best teacher and constant support. But Kajal didi has also been there as a guide, a teacher, a mentor … No! I shouldn’t be calling her didi here, right? But she is my guru. A guru who is almost my mother.

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And when you talk about Sindhi music, can you ever not talk of Abida Parveen ji?! Her music and singing is my biggest source of inspiration. I try to learn from her, from her singing.

ScooTalks: How about your travelling and performances?

Drshika: Nahi nahi! It’s not that I have travelled a lot. Hardly much. I am still exploring …

ScooTalks: Does that mean you won’t ever venture into Hindi/English singing?

Drshika: I love singing in Hindi and English. Taylor Swift is my favorite. And then which singer, more so an Indian singer won’t look for a light from Lata Mangeshkar! And then, Abida Parveen ji, the most obvious inspiration for me.

ScooTalks: So that calls for some soothe to our ears too!

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Drshika: Ya!! I was actually waiting for this.

And she sings a beautiful rendition, Wo humsafar tha, from the Pakistani serial Humsafar and Its been a long day without you friend by Wiz Khalifa.

Man! That was a beauty! Here’s her youtube cover:

ScooTalks: OK! Though, we already know, we’d really like you to feel like a star and talk about your achievements

Drshika: Noooo! No ways! I won’t. I can’t (giggles away). Am no star!

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ScooTalks: Come on … for once, be the star tonight. Try at least!

Drshika: Acha OK! So …

I am regular feature at Radio Sindhi and Sindhi TV cable channels.

I recently had performed at Sindhi Association of Hong Kong & China and I was the youngest there. I don’t want to boast, but it feel wonderful!

I am the Youngest International Artist in Sindhi Singing.

I have already released an album, Varso, my first Sindhi album.

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I also have a Hindi album, Baarishein.

I was the winner of Sindhi Family No. 1 contest held in Mumbai.

I have also won a cash prize of Rs. 21k last year from Sindhi organization for being an inspiration for Sindhi youth to promote Sindhi language and culture.

I can perform on any song on Piano within 15 mins.

ScooTalks: Did you ever find it tough to be on stage?

Drshika: I do face stage fright sometimes, though I have been lucky always to never fumble on stage.

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And then I remember being on the stage for the first time. I was standing in the green room aisle, to perform on stage for the first time, cribbing to Mumma, “mummy mujhe to ye wali trophy chahiye, trophy chahiye, trophy chahiye.” Mumma too was quite tensed because it was to be my first time on stage and all I was thinking was the trophy. But, eventually … I came back with a trophy!

ScooTalks: So, these performances, practicing, etc., do all these hamper your studies?

Drshika: It does. My report card says that I am quite good in studies, though the time that my classmates spend in tuitions, I spend in music and dance classes. Well, this has to be a chance for me to thank my teachers at Billabong High International School, Santa Cruz, Mumbai, not only do they teach so well but also are really very supportive that I can easily manage avoiding tuitions. Apart from this, music and dancing relax my mind. With music comes the first lesson of discipline and concentration. And that’s what studies need! And I love to sketch and click pictures.

Photograph clicked by Drshika

Sketches By Drshika

 

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ScooTalks: To wind up, Drshika, what are your dreams?

Drshika: Other than promoting Sindhi singing? Phir toh I have many!

I want to win a Grammy!

I want to visit and get trained in New York

I want to visit Sindh, see Abida Parveen ji

I want to be a photographer; I have been clicking pics since I got to know about Barbie cams.

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I also want to be an IAS

And I want to be a person who sits on this recliner chair and sign cheques

I want to own a bungalow, next to Taylor Swift and have lots of dogs and dogs and dogs.

Taylor Swift used to invite musical videos on her Facebook page. The one she liked, she took them along with her to perform next to her. I want to be a part of that troupe!

ScooTalks: Long list, eh! It was amazing to meet you Drshika. Not just because you have many talents hidden in you, but because you are you! Hereby, Team ScooTalks wishes you all the very best and hopes that you be the top-notch singer and take your culture to the future!

By the way, we’d sure like you to hear her sing this Sindhi rendition, considered to be one of the toughest in the language.

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A story of dreams, passion and realisation: iTeach!

This engineer settled in the US, satisfied with this profession and lifestyle, found something missing. Once he realised what, he couldn’t help but return back to India, learn new things and took his first step towards his dream.

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The failing education system of India is no more a secret, at least not to the Indians. We as parents never stop cribbing how education too has gone politicised and corrupted in our country. However, there are rare few who’d come up with some efforts to go against the tide and help our ‘failing education system.’

Well, among those rare few, who do decide to stop cribbing, take charge and do something to bring about changes, is Soumya Jain, from Pune, a software engineer from NIT Nagpur, who then landed at Penn State University for his master’s degree, post which worked in the US for the next four years, totally in love with his profession. Although he was quite settled in the US, something from back home irked him constantly, evident from his words, “I just didn’t feel like I was doing anything to serve our country.”
And all this brought iTeach to reality.

Soumya explained how. He “saw educational inequity as the biggest barrier to our country’s progress and to the development and economic mobility of our people and felt like being a part of the solution. This started as a small nagging thought in my mind, which, over a few months, kept bothering me,” which continued till he knew what exactly was irking him all this while. Finally, he ‘decided to act on it and applied for the Teach For India Fellowship program. It was a huge risk to divert from my career path but the fact that it was a global organization affiliated to Teach For All and the immense progress they seemed to already have made in such a short period of time gave me faith.’

Committed though he was, he never had an idea what a sea of changes will Teach For India will bring him. Within a month being accepted into the fellowship programme for 2013-15, he realised what he meant for and also that the journey forward won’t be easy. However, he decided to stay and kept teaching the kids. Gradually, this engineer, who came from a corporate background, realised that he ‘lacked the ability to empathize with people. My approach was clinical with expectations above understanding. I remember coming in with the mindset of wanting to fix everything that the existing governmental school system was doing wrong and I soon realized that approach was getting me nowhere.’

His colleagues at Teach For India were highly supportive, from whom he gradually learnt to empathize towards his students and school, learnt new management skills, etc to help his students benefit more. By the time, his fellowship came to an end, he had a firm decision ‘to remain in the education sector and continue my fight against inequity in education. Once that was settled, it was just a question of how best I could leverage my strengths towards that end.’ And thus the formation of iTeach, with Soumya getting together with one of his colleagues, Prashant Mehrishi, to penetrate and crush the education crisis. He further explained how they made public-private partnership for schools work, bringing under-training teachers provide education to the needy students.

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Although it has just been around a year since iTeach, Soumya, however, has his priorities set, starting right from creating a better school culture, to bringing in investments and teachers, etc, everything leading towards a betterment of needy students. Yet, he realises how tough it will to bridge the gap and also that it will be an entire generation before this gap could actually be bridged.

The idea behind?

A rich India with its main power lying in every citizen. Yeah, it will surely take time, and a lot more of efforts, from a lot many people. But with people as dedicated as Soumya and Prashant, and many more coming back to India, leaving their lucrative jobs behind, we surely can visualise a successful dream!

 

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Young Talent

St Anthony’s School student all set to fly to NASA

Jaipur girl, Manasvi Jain, will soon be heading to NASA to meet Sunita Williams and Rakesh Sharma, having secured numero uno position in the recently concluded National Astronomy Olympiad (NAO).

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She’ll soon be flying to NASA Kennedy Space Centre, and why not! She’s got a personal invitation from NASA, after all!

Manasvi Jain, class 8 student of St Anthony’s School, Jagatpura, Jaipur brought laurels to the school and to her family by securing top rank in the recently concluded National Astronomy Olympiad (NAO). What is surprising is the fact that she is not only the first student from North India to secure this position, but also the one to achieve it with her own hard work sans any coaching.

The achiever said, “I started preparing for the exam 15 to 20 days before the exam. It was self-study and concentration that got me to the top.”
“As soon as I heard about the exam, I aimed to achieve the first rank. I bought books online and spent two to three hours studying astronomy and practiced mental ability questions daily,” said Jain about her preparation for the nationwide Olympiad held on 4 February by Orange Education LLP, an educational publisher.

The winning students will be awarded a trip to NASA facility based in Orlando, the US at the company’s expense. The 10-day trip will embark in June this year.

The proud and elated director of the school, F Jonathan said, “We are excited and it (the development) is encouraging for the school. This reflects the mindset of the parents in motivating the kids.”

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Varun Malhotra, national head of Orange Education LLP, in an event organised at the school on Saturday, has invited Manasvi to visit NASA where she would also get to meet astronauts Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Willaims.

About her trip to NASA, Manasvi said, “I am really excited about going to NASA space centre and will start researching about it.”

Team ScooNews wishes her all the best for her future endeavors.

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Young Talent

Manya Agarwal, Ecole Dehradun, Appreciated by the CM

When the state celebrated Women Empowerment day, several women were appreciated. This young student was one among them.

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Manya Agarwal, class 12 student, Ecole Globale International Girls’ School, Dehradun, was on 20 February felicitated by the chief minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat as the state celebrated Women Empowerment day at a state-level.

The international shooter has won several state and national-level shooting competitions, along with participating in many international events too.

 

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Young Talent

Scientists of the future: THiS Budding Scientist Contest

With Dr Kalam as their idol, there are several more in our nation that are more or less unrecognised. Here are some that won have contests, ready to surge forward!

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The Hindu in School, an initiative by the leading national daily, recently organised Budding Scientist Contest, presented by Manipal Hospitals, at St Joseph’s Indian High School, Bengaluru, with the idea to encourage young scientists to understand the concepts of science and research.

Having understood science, the students were to get in line with the vision that Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had for a developed India and present a science project on the same.

Among the junior students (classes 5 to 7) presenting their projects, Suyash Gupta from class 6, DPS (Bengaluru East) topped the content with Reading Aid for Disabled project that he developed with a kit, light sensor, a motor, a battery, an e-reader, and a sound sensor, which would help specially abled people read without assistance. With the smart project that he had built, the child was beamed with confidence as he told The Hindu, “I was confident of winning as I had come up with a novel idea.”

Following him close were Sanjana Garai and Sujitha N, students of The Oxford Senior Secondary School, JP Nagar, who had developed Robo Farming 2020.

Among the seniors, students from classes 8 to 10, it were Harshitha V, class 9, and Dhruv B, class 10, from Presidency School who took the crown for Suraksha, a project that would keep homes, agricultural fields, etc, secure, something that the developers said can be used by the armed forces too. Harshitha told The Hindu, “Innovations like ours bring in positive changes in efficiency, productivity and quality.”

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Team of Akhil P and Lakshmi Chandana S from Jubilee School were the runner-ups for their project Cotton Bandage.

Judges Deepak Saini, Mayank Srivastava, Prerna Sharma, Balaji Jayaprakash, faculty members of IISc, found it hard to the rank winners as many top schools of the city had participated with around 120 projects to be adjudged. The awards were distributed by Jayant Modak, deputy director at IISc, and Harinarayan Sharma, chief officer of strategy and business development at Manipal Hospitals.

Story and Image credits: The Hindu

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