Published: 19th January 2021
Here's all about the idea that took these 16-year-olds from Hyderabad to the United Nations
We find out how these 16-year-olds went from installing water filters to assembling kits for the needy. They have even been to UN's headquarters in New York to talk about their drinking water project
Being athletes, Meeraa Ramakrishnan and Nainika Reddy Kommera have been passionate about sports for development of the underprivileged for a long time. As part of the Future Leader programme of 1M1B, a social innovation initiative, they decided to take their idea a step further by asking students if sports indeed is what government school children actually desire. It turns out that they had more pressing concerns, clean drinking water being the foremost of them. So, the 16-year-olds decided to focus on this. They started a campaign under their foundation Avaagat to raise about six lakhs in 2019 and installed two water filters — one in a mandal parishad school in Madhapur and another at Sri Satya Sai Krupa Home in Mossapet. So impressive was their work that the duo presented it at the Activate Impact Summit held at the United Nations' headquarters in New York in December 2019. "We were one among the six projects chosen to do so," shares Meeraa. Just when they were planning to scale things up, the pandemic descended.
At the UN | (Pic: Avaagat)
"The plan was to work on the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) XI which is about 'clean water and sanitation for all'. But with the schools closed, we shifted our focus," says Meeraa who met classmate Nainika at CHIREC International School, Hyderabad. They had funds left from their previous campaign so they decided to curate kits with essentials like gloves, masks, oximeters, which would last any establishment a month, and partnered with Youngistaan Foundation for the distribution. They prepared 1,435 kits that went to Aman Vedika Homes and other such places.
Kids with the filter | (Pic: Avaagat)
Side by side, the athletes are focusing on researching the water problems in India and are beginning to understand the ill effects of sodium and chlorine in water. "I want to be a surgeon when I grow up and this project has helped both Nainika and me understand so much. In the process, we have had the chance to speak with families, understand their predicaments and that has been the biggest learning experience for me, personally," says Meeraa. Now, the duo is working on different kinds of kits that will be helpful when the schools reopen, like the ones that have thermal screening instruments, thermometers and so on. Will you help them in their endeavour?
More about them:
- Meeraa is a district-level athlete who participates in track events
- Nainika is a national-level basketball player
For more on them, check out instagram.com/avaagatofficial