In our patriarchal society one hears stories of gruesome crimes against women everyday. While the law and order process takes its own time to work on the issues, it is ultimately the efforts of people that make a difference. Shivangi Singh is a real life hero making this difference. Through her NGO Drishtikona – Changing Perspectives Shivangi has revolutionized the field of Gender Education. Founded in August, 2018, Drishtikona – Changing Perspectives has positively impacted over 50,000 people across Asia and the numbers are increasing everyday as more NGOs and social initiatives attempt to replicate Shivangi’s model of work. Being the first organization of its kind in India, Drishtikona – Changing Perspectives has truly set a very high benchmark.
Shivangi Singh is an inspiration for everyone. She has won several awards for her work such as, National Youth Icon Award by International Youth Committee, Asia Inspiration Award by International Youth Committee, Global Shaper Award by World Economic Forum, Young Changemaker Award by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples, and several others. She is a TED speaker, academic award winning scholar, prolific writer with hundreds of publications to her name and a truly multi-talented human being. She is a young girl in her 20’s and has already worked with over 25 organizations and earned 3 academic degrees in different fields. A true polymath, ask her if she is the living, breathing Superwoman and she laughs it off by saying, “Isn’t every woman essentially a Superwoman?”
Shivangi has been featured by over 30 media organizations – nationally and internationally. Her list of achievements far exceeds her age by at least ten times and for many, the name Shivangi Singh is synonymous with fame and fortune. I talked to the volunteers of her organization. 17 year old Mehtaab from Lucknow’s Surya Public Schools has the following to say:
“Drishtikona is truly changing lives. When we interact with people after conducting any session, the response is very encouraging as people feel the shift in their mindsets. For most people who have never undergone gender training, it is a life changing experience as they feel heard for the first time. For the first time in their lives someone facilitates an environment where they feel safe to share their painful life experiences. I give full credit to Shivangi for creating this environment and doing something so amazing for our society. She is my inspiration in life, my role model. She is the kind of woman I aim to become in life – personally as well as professionally. I can only hope to achieve her level of excellence and success in life one day.”
I ask Shivangi what is her secret to achieving such phenomenal success at such a young age and she replies:
“I think it is one of those things that I just had to do. It is my life’s mission to bridge the gender and educational inequities in our society. My personal and professional goal is in complete alignment with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls. It is this burning, seething passion to change the lives of women and children in our society that motivates me to continue my work. It is a fire that will never get extinguished. The welfare of people must be our collective goal as a civilized society. There is more to life than just striving for materialistic pleasures. There is always more meaning to be added to our lives.”
Shivangi has been awarded several fellowships throughout her career namely, Make A Difference Fellowship, Teach For India Fellowship, Young India Fellowship and more recently, the AIF Clinton Fellowship. Talking about the latest feather in her full to the brim hat, Shivangi says,
“As an AIF Clinton Fellow for the batch of 2020 – 2021 I am serving with the Central Tibetan Administration, which is essentially the Tibetan Government living and functioning in exile. Headquartered in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh in India, it is most interesting to see how the government coordinates with all its citizens spread across the globe. The annexation of Tibet by China is a gruesome and violent chapter in world history and is completely illegal. The need for a Free Tibet is a very real one. Through this fellowship I hope to learn more about the Tibetan culture and make lots of friends in the community. My work primarily revolves around their Women Empowerment Desk and Department of Education. I am working on this project under SARD (Social and Resource Development Fund) under the CTA. So far, I absolutely love this work. The fellowship is most beautifully structured with effective management. My host organization, CTA and my project supervisor, Mr Tenzin Norsang along with members of the WED team have been very warm and welcoming. I could not have asked for better mentors and supervisors. I am delighted to be a small part of the CTA and AIF teams.”
Shivangi’s work as a William J Clinton Fellow for Service in India with the American India Foundation is like an extension of her work at Drishtikona – Changing Perspectives in the sense that it would focus on creating and disseminating a gender education curriculum for Tibetan schools across India. She is also working on creating Entrepreneurship more viable to school students. Her aim is to increase long term independent livelihoods amongst the Tibetan community members by nurturing the growth mindset of the youth. She especially hopes to create many more successful women entrepreneurs from within the community. We wish her best of luck in her project and hope that she continues inspiring people through her work in the future.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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