Indian, NRI, PIO youth changemakers receive award instituted in memory of Princess Diana

The UK-based organisation The Diana Award, which rewards outstanding work for social good in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, announced its 2023 global winners yesterday, and many of the names are of Indian activists and changemakers.

The late Diana, Princess of Wales, was renowned for her engagement in humanitarian work. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@DianaAward

Among the Indian winners is Sanya Sharma, founder of Scarlet Udaan, a global youth organisation that raises awareness on female genital cutting (FGC) and empowers young people to take action. Sanya has been recognised by the UN for her efforts and is a Gender Equality leader with UN Women.

Another winner is 14-year-old Divaa Uthkarsha, a student of NPS Rajajinagar, Bengaluru, for her humanitarian work, Project Surya, in the field of healthcare for underprivileged children suffering from diabetics in Karnataka. “This award wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my mentors at 1M1B. I conceptualised my project at the 1M1B Future Leaders programmes and got outstanding mentorship to execute,” said Divaa.

The 1M1B or One Million for One Billion is a UN accredited not-for-profit organisation that mentors youth under the Future Leaders Programme. Under Project Surya, Divaa has donated more than 500 insulin syringes to poor diabetic children.

The roll call of Diana Award honours recognises exceptional young people, who have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting change on a global scale.

Tanya Marwaha, a disability and mental health speaker based in England; and Navjit Kaur Gill, a lawyer and mental health activist based in England are among NRI/PIO awardees of the 2023 Diana Award.

“These young people demonstrate that young people have the power to change the world; a belief also held by Diana, Princess of Wales. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own changemaking journey,” said Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of the Diana Award.

Indians on Diana Award roll call

Besides the names mentioned above, some of the other Indians on the award roll call include:

● Amey Agarwal, who battled nephrotic syndrome for 15 years, and has raised funds and sponsorships enabling successful kidney transplants through non-profit organisation Nephrohelp.

● Gunisha Aggarwal, who founded the HELP Chennai initiative, assisting over 600 underprivileged students access online education by providing digital devices.

● Joy Agrawal, for Project Gyan, an initiative to provide explorative/experiential STEM and tribal entrepreneurship education to underprivileged students.

● Uday Bhatia, for his brand Uday Electric, which has illuminated over 950 households in rural India across five states and sold over 3,000 units.

● Rhea Chopra, founder of MyBody, which is dedicated to raising awareness and recognition for eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

● Saanvi Dhingra, who founded the non-profit organisation Cinderella’s Got Wings to empower underprivileged girls by providing them with financial education and teaching them basic skills like sewing.

● Taarush Grover, a 16-year-old student-entrepreneur from India who founded not-for-profit organisation Volanity to provide holistic development to underprivileged high school students across India.

● Manasi Gupta, founder of Huesofthemind Foundation, a non-profit organisation that focuses on advocating mental wellbeing and making mental health services accessible and affordable.

● Riddhi Javali, a 17-year-old student from Bengaluru who founded Project Repeat, a non-profit that provides girls in rural areas with sustainable menstrual hygiene products.

● Anika Jha for cHHange – It’s Normal, which tackles the knowledge gap in puberty by providing reliable, personalised information to adolescents.

● Het Joshi for her youth-powered non-profit, Adira Foundation, which focuses on menstrual equity, providing sanitary products and education in remote areas of India.

● Swetha Kannan for The Lalitha Foundation, to improve the psychological wellbeing of cancer patients in India, transforming numerous lives through their dedication and compassion.

● Haniya Kaur, co-founder of the non-profit organisation Ladki Padhao, which aims to promote educational rights for women.

● Jivya Lamba for the WeCycle campaign, which has made a significant social impact by providing bicycles with GPS trackers to teenage girls in rural communities, enabling them to continue their education safely.

● Tarini Malhotra for Nai Subah Foundation educational institution.

● Prachi Mishra, founder of Project Nilay, a youth-led not-for-profit initiative that focuses on serving socially-deprived, poverty-stricken, and at-risk children in Odisha.

● Pawan Patil for Tubelight Foundation for Social Innovations, which brings technological innovations to solve rural community problems.

● Agastya Sinha for The Cloud Canvas inclusive learning platform.

● Dev Shah, a child prodigy in chess for the Nirmaan Charitable Trust.

● Nirvaan Somany for Project Jeans – Blue to Green, which repurposes old jeans into sleeping bags for people experiencing homelessness.

● Addvika Vikram Agarwal, who drives change through community work.