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Shanti Raghavan, Founder of EnAble India and Ashoka Fellow, who along with Dipesh Sutariya recently won the coveted Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 by Schwab Foundation and World Economic Forum, launched Ashoka’s #LeadYoung Forum in this weekend.

Shanti has been instrumental in building an ecosystem of skilling, employment and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities through the use of technology innovations, breakthroughs in skill trainings, new workplace solutions and behaviour-change tools. Over the past 20 years, Shanti and her teams have transformed the lives of 2,20,000 individuals with disabilities and their families, community leaders, and employers across all the states.

#LeadYoung is the first edition of a series of forums across major cities, conceptualized with an aim to set the stage for teenagers who started their changemaking journeys very early on in life. And do this through conversations, artforms and having youth led sessions.

Speaking at the occasion Shanti highlighted, “The seeds of changemaking are there within each one of us from a young age. We see the world as it really is with tremendous clarity. We question the status quo, ask tough questions. Imagine a world where this power is harnessed and every young person is a changemaker – that is why platforms such as #leadyoung are so important.”

The Bangalore edition was Inaugurated with a panel moderated by Shanti and had India’s teenage changemakers from across country participate. The inaugural panel was all-female panel discussion, Some of the speakers of the panel were:

Kaajal Gupta, a 17-year old, Founder of Liberate, “My OCD Fighter, is solving the lack of attention and awareness for OCD with an app and online self-help tool that can be used in conjunction with therapy.”

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Sanjana Dixit, a 17-year old, Founder of Rutu Chakra, is addressing the lack of hygienic menstrual practices and providing access to required menstrual products for females from marginalised areas.

Apoorvi Bharat Ram, a 17-year old, Founder of The Happiness Project, is aiming to tackle the serious lack of awareness and the dearth of mental health professionals in Government Schools.

These 3 of them recently were selected as Ashoka Young Changemakers, through a country wide selection process and are now part of network of young people who have created positive change and are ready to take on a new role as co-leaders of the “Everyone a Changemaker” movement. The conversation was followed by a Spoken Word special, performed by Simar Singh, a 19-year old, Founder of UnErase Poetry and other sessions by other social entrepreneurs.

Yashveer Singh, Global Director, Ashoka Young Changemakers said, “We are living in truly historic moment, in a world that is defined by change. Ashoka believes in order to thrive in this new world every young person needs to grow up as a changemaker – a person who steps up to solve problems for the good of all. It is critical for India’s future to have an ecosystem where young people could lead change from early on in life.”

Ashoka will be doing a series of #LeadYoung Forums in different cities across India.

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