Priyal Jain, a 14-year-old and tenth-grade student of Ahlcon International School, is a United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals’ Ambassador, runner up at the Times of India Young Change Leaders’ Contest’2020 and founder of Utpravan Youth Foundation. In conversation with Brainfeed, she shares her aims for a better world and the work done by Utpravan
Q: How did Utpravan come about?
Utpravan took three years. It was preceded by hours of brainstorming and quite a few projects to take the present shape. The idea for a societal change struck me in March 2017 when I was in grade six when i first got to know about taboos against menstruation.
In 2018, I was introduced to Climate Action and in 2019. While I was discovering these global challenges, my mentor and then school principal, Dr. Ashok Pandey, Director of Ahlcon Schools, fostered interest in Sustainable Development Goals. All these four different factors made me initiate a portal. On 1st January 2020, the same portal was given a rethought and was shaped into Utpravan with the motto of stitching the youth into the fabric of sustainable progress.
But there is a plot twist. I never told my parents or mentors about Utpravan before its launch. The source of motivation and support during the pre-launch period was my friends who worked towards serving the society and helped me in whatever way possible.
Q: What is required to promote Agenda 2030 in remote regions of country?
While reaching out to the remotest of areas, it is quite necessary to keep in mind the prevalence of patriarchal, toxic, and caste-based social norms of exploitation in such regions. Such regions can be accessed only by fieldwork and voluntary services which should first aim to provide education to the locals. Awareness about the Agenda 2030 is missing among people who have no access to education. Being a sunrise team, Utpravan has been able to reach cities of North India.
Q: What roles can schools play?
- Schools can play a critical role in fostering a gender-neutral society with special emphasis on the LGBTQ+ community.
- Students coming from various conservative backgrounds, they need to be taught about gender fluidity. These values can be imbibed with the help of both academic and project-based curricula.
- Schools should hold workshops on menstrual hygiene and let students exchange their ideas through debates. Students should be allowed to engage into community outreach projects. Schools should take the first step to see positive changes in people’s mindset.
“While reaching out to the remotest of areas, it is quite necessary to keep in mind the prevalence of patriarchal, toxic, and caste-based social norms of exploitation in such regions. Such regions can be accessed only by fieldwork and voluntary services which should first aim to provide education to the locals.”
Q: How do you plan to manage Utpravan in the coming years?
I wish to serve my country as an officer in the Indian Administrative Services while continuing my services as a social entrepreneur. Utpravan will grow with prior investment into socio-economic and environment-related research. Utpravan will grow as the number of volunteers’ increase. In future, I will continue managing the organization with academics and non-academic majors and work in the same way.
Q: Future plans for Utpravan?
Utpravan has independently launched projects on empowerment, social work, climate action and gender equality. Collaborations with other NGOs will help Utpravan reach the remotest areas in India and eventually at the United Nations Conventional Councils.
“But there is a plot twist. I never told my parents or mentors about Utpravan before its launch. The source of motivation and support during the pre-launch period was my friends who worked towards serving the society and helped me in whatever way possible.”
Q: What kind of resource allocation are you expecting?
I am looking forward to the support of educational institutions under three of our school-based projects. As of now, we need funds to carry out our projects and also build a strong marketing team to spread our services and agenda. I believe funds would enable us to reach to the areas which are often ignored. People’s opinions, criticisms and suggestions will help us to achieve our goals. The team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.