Joy Agarwal founder of Community Space One

He is the founder of Community Space One, an organisation working on sustainable development using space technology. A TEDX speaker, he's also the CEO of a project called CERES.

What does your organisation Community Space One do?

As the name suggests, it is a community of people working together to promote sustainable development using space technology. Sustainable development aims to save enough resources for the future. Our organisation works to find satellite data, process it and derive impactful results. For example, we participated in NASA'S EO Dashboard Hackathon where we worked towards making a time-lapse of the Mumbai Airport's pollution as the COMID-19 waves progressed. The analysis suggested that as there were fewer flights, the number of pollution factors had also dwindled. So, we could say that airports have a major role in pollution. My organisation has a few mentors who excel in their field and guide us. We also have technological enthusiasts who help in processing the data and giving a good output And finally, we have a unique team of change makers who drive the data and bring a change with social activities.

Why do you think awareness should be spread on sustainable development goals? Which sustainable development goals are you focussing on?

Sustainable development goals are the need of today's generation. I'm currently working on sustainable development goals number four and 15. They speak about quality education and life on land. In terms of reaching out to people, if the common person doesn't look at the things that create devastation in their lives, then we, the changemakers, make a move to bring it to their notice. It is today's youth who are the key to reaching out to people. They have the zeal to make a change since it is their future that is going to be impacted.

Share with us your experience of being a TEDX speaker.

When I was in Class VI, I was invited as a speaker. Since I was very young, I didn't have any clue about it. I was very fortunate to stand before all the experienced people. I was very proud to share my stage with Terence Lewis, a famous choreographer. It was a wonderful experience and a knowledgeable platform to learn.

Tell us about your project CERES and your role in it.

A study conducted 10 years ago said there was a relation between cosmic radiation and the growth of saplings. So we are working on this concept by sending a few saplings to high altitudes, about 30 to 40 km. and measuring their growth over time. We are also trying ways to replicate this on a large scale to gain the forest cover we lost. I'm the chief executive officer of this project. My role is to manage the research aspect of the project, focussing on space technology. I also look over the managing part of the project, i.e., cultivating strategic partnerships. Recently, we signed an MOU with the a government polytechnic for joint research and skill development.

What prompted you to get into space technology? I have wished to become an astronaut from a very young age. My parents gifted me a telescope, which I would say was the starting point for my interest in space technology. And participating in various competitions improved my knowledge and technical skills. But the main reason I clubbed the technical skills and my space interest was because of my mentor, a space system professor, who guided me

As a teen entrepreneur, how do you manage time?

I have always wished to have a system of homeschooling. Fortunately, this lockdown has given me ample time to concentrate on my studies as well as my external skills. This has made me manage time efficiently. I prioritise important work. I make sure I focus on my academics and external projects in a balanced manner.

What are your hobbies and future plans?

I read a lot of books and pen down my thoughts. In the future, I don't want to become a random engineer who works all day. I aspire to become a changemaker where I'm globally known. I would love to work in the United Nations as a proud citizen of India.

What is the one thing you would love to contribute to society?

I would like to work towards 100 % literacy and zero hunger. If we can combine these two policies, we can make Earth a better place to live in. I think this will improve the country's status too.

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Riddhi Javali initiative Project Repeat, a non-profit organization, aims to provide sustainable and eco-friendly options for menstrual hygiene to government school girls

What prompted you to come up with Project Repeat?

Poor menstrual hygiene leads to multiple health complications, particularly among school girls in rural areas. It is also one of the key factors behind adolescents dropping out of school. Once we identified the problem, we decided to work towards a solution, and this initiative is a step in that direction. We started Project Repeat in 2020.

Menstruation is generally not discussed openly. So how did you do it?

Menstrual hygiene doesn't really figure as a point of discussion, especially in villages. Moreover, menstrual hygiene carries stigma in our society. But it is not so in my family. Maybe that inspired and helped me start this organisation. Girls in rural areas are initially reluctant to talk about menstrual hygiene. But gradually I'm able to talk to them and create awareness about that. In fact, they are actively joining Project Repeat.

What do you think are the qualities of a good leader?

Creating an open line of communication with your team members. I hear them out and in some cases I take their opinion too. Good communication skills and effective team work make your work better.

What are your hobbies?

I have numerous hobbies that they consume all my free time. I love to cook, play badminton, tell stories, and sometimes I love to write poems and articles too. Usually, I love to focus on stuff other than studies. This allows me to manage both my studies and my organisation.

What are your future plans and aspirations?

My focus is simple-for periods to be spoken about openly by all instead of it being a taboo in our society. Project Repeat is now present only in Karnataka. My biggest goal is to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene throughout India.

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"A Teenage Soul through Ebb and Flow", is a collection of poems by Nehal Sanghai

You've just published "A Teenage Soul through Ebb and Flow, a collection of poems. What prompted it? What do you want your readers to take away from this?

Publishing a book was initially a wild imagination or a dream for me. I always wrote poetry because it served as an emotional outlet during any overwhelming situation. These poems allowed me to express my thoughts and emotions and reflect on experiences in that particular moment and were written with the idea that no on was ever going to actually read them. The fact that my friends or anyone I ever read a poem to connected with the incident / emotion I was trying to express was the first time I thought about sharing what I had written with the world.

My book represents the vulnerability and honesty with which one savours any beautiful or formative moment / emotion. It's a direct window into my soul but my hope for this book as a debut author is that whoever reads this book is able to find a piece of themselves in my words. Whether it's a stranger or a close friend, a 13-year-old or a 30-year-old, I hope they are able to find some aspect of their life in my poems because at the crux of our being, our souls  go through the same ebbs and flows at many different levels and fronts.

You have been writing poems since eight. How did that journey begin?

I don't really recall the exact moment when I started writing poetry, but it's the journey I would like to emphasize more on. It started with me reading poems in my school magazine when my attempt to writing in Class III was limited to rhyming 'cat, mat and bat. Gradually I developed admiration for poems in both English and Hindi. I became more of an avid reader than a writer of poems, and slowly after reading poems for about three to four years, I started writing again. I wrote in both Hindi and English, and two of my Hindi poems were published in a newspaper when I was in Class VII.

Over time with a stronger grip on the languages and enhanced ability to articulate my thoughts, I started writing again.

Also, shifting from Kolkata to Mumbai was a big transition in my life. That , and the lockdown were two milestones when I started writing very frequently.

How does writing poetry help you?

Poetry is a form of catharsis for me. It's an emotional outlet and is a way to capture a moment or a fleeting emotion I which cannot be captured through pictures and videos. It's quite funny how my brain works because during any overwhelming situation, instead of looking for a solution, my brain starts tying words into rhymes. This way, my 'emotional' side is able to rant all the thoughts out and then the 'rational' side comes into play and finds a solution. So by the time I finish a poem in 10-15 minutes, I've poured my thoughts out and also found a solution in the same poem.

With your involvement in community and volunteer work, and fund-raisers, it is clear you are socially responsive to issues. What prompted this, and has this changed you?

I've grown up in a family where I can proudly say that the values and ethics which have been inculcated are an integral part of me. I've always seen them give back to society in several different and unspoken ways. When I used to volunteer as a student-teacher, I realized that many times not only was I teaching the children, but they were teaching me various things. And this realization filled my heart because since then I have always followed the belief that no one knows everything but everyone knows something, and hence everyone has a unique way of value creation in society.

How do you manage time between your interests / concerns and academics?

It's never been difficult for me to actually manage time per say. We all have 24 hours and just knowing how to priorities and allocate it does the trick. My hobbies and creative pursuits are as important to me as academics, and I have always continued them parallel to my studies. The only difference is that sometimes I allocate more time to my academics and sometimes more to my hobbies and social life, and that's how I try to maintain a balance because both help me grow in different ways.

What are your aspirations?

I have been inclined towards finance, business, and economics since I've watched many people around me pursue these, and I believe I have a good aptitude for them. But I still look forward to exploring different subjects in the future. My dream would be to actually make a positive impact in whichever field I choose to pursue. I always try to create an environment of community, mutual upliftment, and positivity, and this is something I will continue doing regardless of where I go.

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Ayush Singh founder of Antern, a EdTech and Al Company

What drew you to data science?

It all began when I started exploring various fields of science. I was an average student in school, and wanted to do something different. I started exploring different activities such as skating, playing the guitar, etc., but I was not enjoying any of those. I stumbled upon the world of programming, and got very interested and excited. Once I started learning. I wanted to earn money from it, and hence set my goal to become a data scientist. I made my roadmap with the help of various people on YouTube, and eventually explored more about web development, Android development, data science, etc. One of the major reasons why this field attracted me was because I was interested in mathematics. I began focussing more on linear algebra, calculus, and discrete mathematics with the help of an online learning platform. Then I began working on machine learning and its statistical model. Very few students from my class (Grade IX) had opted for this field, so I took it up as a challenge to become an inspiration for many.

Tell us about your company Antern and how it works.

Antern is a start-up that we, a group of teens, have built. We create courses on job-ready skills such as machine learning and computer science for a very low fee. We prepare people to have confidence when they step into their job. We do this by teaching them the basics and practicals of the subject they have opted for. We also give them projects and assignments to work on and test their knowledge frequently.

How do you convince your audience to trust you since you're this young?

We are currently opening scholarships to bring in more clients. We devote time and effort to make them job-ready. We have started focussing on college students. We will boost their performance, and our brand will be promoted by word of mouth.

What are your thoughts on internships?

I'm a data science intern at Artifact, and I think it is one of the best internships I have ever done because it provides me great learning opportunities. I work under a person who has already done their Masters and has many years of experience working in MNCs. I don't ask my mentor what to do and what not to do, and I try to figure it out myself in the best way that I can, and in the end, I ask him to give me suggestions. If I am stuck, he guides me by asking me to try out different possibilities.

What kind of content do you create on YouTube?

Newera is an initiative wherein I provide in-depth content for free. I work on foundation skills by providing them with information and education on advanced topics.

How do you manage school and work? What are your hobbies?

Going to school is very important for holistic growth as it teaches you discipline and to make friends. When I go to school I learn a lot as well as refresh my knowledge. I am currently in Class IX and I have already completed my syllabus for Maths and Physics, and of course, my favourite subject. History, My hobbies are reading, including books written by entrepreneurs, listening to podcasts, and also, investing time on myself, and having fun as well.

What are your future plans?

My plan for Antem is to expand my audience and to help people more. I want to build a product that will make a difference in today's advancing tech world, using recent technology such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. We will develop Artificial Intelligence products that we are working on as well. We are aiming at taking better business decisions using Artificial Intelligence, and giving those to business leaders. Personally, I want to get into a good institution such as MIT, Oxford, Harvard, or IIT.

What will be that one thing that you would like to change in our society?

I want to make parents understand that every child is unique and needn't be compared with any other. No child should be forced into taking up hobbies and activities they don't enjoy. Give them a chance to explore, and they will do wonders with their life.

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Vijay Prakash founder of the non-profit Global Environment Conservative Society

What prompted you to set up GECS?

GECS was founded in 2020 during the pandemic. The idea was to create awareness about the several current environmental threats. Apart from this, we have completed several projects that has strengthened our foundation. We are attempting to make changes that are crucial for the survival of humankind. We also collaborate with various organisations that share our ideology.

What do you focus on?

As of now, we are researching on climate change and carbon emission. Our researchers are put up all over the world. Apart from basic research, our organisation is open to new ideas and projects related to current environmental threats. We also conduct webinars and events to develop new strategies.

What prompted you to research particularly on climate change? Which organisations have you partnered with?

Climate change is a topic that has fascinated me from my childhood. I have always wanted to discover solutions related to environmental issues in the world. This kindled my interest regarding climate change. Some leading global organisations gave us a helping hand in finding better solutions by supporting or partnering with us. These include MUN Impact, Youth International Conclave, Greener is Cleaner, INTSOC Foundation, etc. These organisations help us in making the project or any initiative successful.

How did your internship shape your skills?

Internships have played a prominent role in my life. I began my internship before starting my organisation. That is where my pursuit of social entrepreneurship or volunteering began. It helped me discover myself. I volunteered for organisations to pursue and enhance my skills. This gave me great exposure to improve skills needed for a social entrepreneur. Even after commencing my organisation, I continue to nourish my skills with internships that are meaningful to me.

What were the challenges you faced with your start-up?

Since I'm a high schooler, time management is generally between school and the organisation. Initially, I found it difficult to manage time. But luckily, online classes gave me the support to adjust to my studies. Another challenge was that since my team members were diverse, it was quite difficult to fix a convenient time for some webinars and events. These were the two primary challenges I faced and solved with my start-up.

As a budding activist and a young entrepreneur, what are your aspirations?

Being a social activist I can impact people in various ways where they get adequate knowledge to understand and fight against the cause. Like various environmentalists. I want to make Earth a better place for humans and other species living here. This was one of the reasons to choose entrepreneurship as my vocation. Some of the major aims include sustainability, climate change, and a few other hazardous issues such as carbon emissions This made me realise who I am and identify my concerns about environmental issues

What are your hobbies and interests?

I love to spend a lot of time in yoga. This is something that keeps me calm Apart from meditation. I like swimming and horse riding as well

What is the one thing you want to change in society?

I want an impact where there are no environmental issues and also change the view of people regarding pollutants that are dangerous to the environment. I hope I bring in a change that is reasonable and impactful for the upcoming generations. I wish people abide by the sustainability goals and follow the same.

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