– Dipta Joshi (Mumbai)
Plucky Siya Tayal (15), a class X student of the millennium city’s highly-ranked Shri Ram School, Aravali, Gurugram is making waves in social media circuits worldwide through her online ‘Project I Am Enough’ campaign.
Launched on Instagram in July, the objective of this campaign is to contest ‘perfect body’ stereotypes and end the culture of body shaming by advising youth to accept and respect people of all ages, sizes and shapes. The campaign has thus far reached 762,000 accounts, according to Instagram data.
Inspired by her parents’ empathetic attitude towards the underprivileged and insecure, and encouraged by her supportive teachers at Shri Ram School, Siya made societal change her mission at the young age of nine. In 2014, she promoted an umbrella organisation christened Bee Nifty under the aegis of a non-profit run by her late father. She launched social initiatives such as My Own Bag, which employs women in rural Haryana to craft hand bags and purses from waste fabric and sells them at school fests, and Santa Cause, a voluntary Christmas donation drive. The proceeds of these enterprises are donated to fund the education of slum children of the Nayi Disha School, Gurugram.
Siya’s social activism is being acknowledged in habitations far beyond Gurugram. In September 2019, she was selected as one of seven youth from India to outline her welfare initiatives at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations. She was also appointed youth ambassador of the IM2030 (one million youth leaders by 2030) initiative of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, which empowers youth to become changemakers in their societies.
With her class X ICSE board exam round the corner, this ardent young activist is preparing to write her online pre-board examinations. “Whatever college programme or career path I choose, I am confident I’ll always find time to speak up for people on the margins of society. That is the social obligation of the country’s educated middle class,” says the spunky teen with an active social conscience.
Wind beneath your wings!