Published: 17th August 2021
Student of the year: Teen Alekhya Vemuri on using art for advocacy and writing her way to success
Alekhya Vemuri has multiple interests and she ardently hopes to explore all of them, one by one, while discovering new ones too. She is a teen bubbling with passion and here's why she is awesome
Before anybody else could see what Alekhya Vemuri could offer to the world, Alekhya spotted the potential in herself. "I do believe that I have the drive and passion to create change in and contribute to society," says the 16-year-old. She is already letting this passion find an outlet through several avenues. Model United Nations, art competitions, Olympiads, writing and even academics, there are several fields that she is already making her mark in. But her most poignant was with regards to COVID-relief. "Art has always been a language of self-expression for me and taking up the Counter Speech Fellowship by YLAC (Young Leaders for Active Citizenship) helped me understand how to use art for advocacy around issues like gender equality and mental health. As I began to think about the community, an idea started to form in my head, that of raising funds by selling my artwork," says the Head Girl of Meridian School For Boys and Girls, Hyderabad. Having read about the Cyberabad Police, under their Operation Smile programme, rescuing 11 children who were labouring at Divya Shakti Mills in November 2020, the crusader found a cause to get behind.
She has taken online courses on AI and calculus during the pandemic
Using Instagram, Alekhya put up pictures of her artwork, as many as 40 made with colour pencils, oil, acrylic and watercolours and what not, last year and was able to collect `87,200 by December 2020. This magic amount went into helping 183 children across various homes in Hyderabad with stationery and other essentials, all of which was carried out in collaboration with the Cyberabad Police. For this noble act, in January 2021, this teen wonder was felicitated at the launch of ShePahi by Additional Director General of Police, Women Safety Swati Lakra and actor Anushka Shetty. "I had the chance to actually meet the kids who were rescued and their stories touched my heart. It was then that I realised that this is just one step I have taken in the right direction," she says modestly.
All smiles while being felicitated
Just this month, Alekhya had the chance to flex all her writing muscles as well. To Be Your Own Spark, a collection of 25 short stories published by Writersgram Publications, is out and the Hyderabadi is so excited! Not just for this book, but also for the book that's coming up, Lockdown Diaries. "I undertook a challenge to write one poem each day for 25 days and write them based on the little things, like swings in a park, pencils, exams and so on. Because sometimes, it's all about the little things, isn't it?" the Class XII student asks. This actually comes from one of the lessons that the pandemic has taught her — to be grateful for everything.
She has participated in more than 17 MUNs
For inspiration, Alekhya doesn't have to look very far, she finds it right at home. Her mother's sensitivity towards the needs of the underprivileged and the skill with which her grandfather would invent story characters have together fueled her enough to take on many challenges. "We, as youngsters and active citizens, have a responsibility to participate and shape the world around us. All I aspire to be is a good citizen," says the youngster.
On a visit
Looking to develop your leadership skills as students? Check these out:
- Accenture Student Leadership Program (ASLP) by Accenture
- 1M1B Future Leaders Programme by 1M1B Foundation
- Teach For India Fellowship by Teach For India
- Young Scholars Summer Programme by Ashoka University
- Women Leading IITM by IIT Madras