She is a social entrepreneur youth changemaker author and young ambassador for Football for Friendship programme She is also the founder of Sports to Lead, an organisation working towards empowering girls and women.

Tell us about your journey, and how you got into football.

My journey began in 2017 when India hosted the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. It included an essay writing competition organised by Mission XI Million. I had written an article about how football fosters friendship and global relationships, and my essay was selected to represent India as a young journalist at the Football for Friendship programme in St. Petersburg, Russia. That programme changed me from a shy girl to a confident one. During the programme, we became united by a desire for a safer world with equal prosperity in all fields. We were also united by a passion for writing, communication, and curiosity. It reinforced my idea that you have to fight for honest and free journalism. I had both specialised as well as general training for various aspects of reporting and covering the major events during the programme. It taught me how to look at what makes a good human-interest story, and how to tell it in an informative and entertaining way. And when to look back for more background details, and why accuracy and fairness remain the cornerstones of reporting.

Describe your book “My Journey from Mohali to St. Petersburg”.

This book is an anthology of 21 short stories about my experience and learnings from the Football for Friendship programme. The book focusses on the nine basic values promoted by the programme – fairness, equality, health, friendship, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honour. The book aims to present a holistic picture of what constitutes a good life, which transcends the prevalent, narrow understandings of success, fulfilment, and unhappiness in life.

What does your organisation Sports to Lead work for?

Through a series of workshops and awareness sessions, Sports to Lead will help empower young girls to fight discrimination and gender inequality. It also aims to bring to light several challenges faced by women sportspersons in India, which includes sexism and the lack of infrastructure, contracts, and popularity.

Why do you think Sustainable Development Goals are important?

It’s very important to implement SDGS at the ground level. For instance, one can provide football pitches for government school students so they can have an opportunity to play and improve their mental as well as physical abilities. It’s very important to have sessions regarding SDGS in schools to raise awareness among children so that they can take actions at their level to help this world become a safer, more peaceful and beautiful place for everyone.

What are your career plans?

I would like to become a journalist. I would also like to pursue the FIFA master programme, an international sports management course. I would like to pen down stories of inspirational sportspersons for FIFA and the Olympics.

What are your hobbies?

I like to write in my free time, and read novels and other books. This has been my habit since I was in Class III or IV. I play sports such as football or basketball in the evening. I also cycle regularly with my younger sister.

Do you think having many achievements makes one a successful person?

I feel having many achievements doesn’t make us a successful person, it is important to have values.

How do you manage your time between studies and sports?

I follow a schedule. I have time slots for the activities I have been involved in. I guess maintaining a proper schedule or a timetable is the key for balancing all the activities we are involved in.

Who is your inspiration?

The biggest inspirations are my grandfather and father. My grandfather motivated me to read newspapers, and towards public speaking. He was involved in various social causes. He would take me along with him and ask me to speak there about social causes and so on. That helped build my confidence. My father is a journalist, and from him I understood how to develop the skills for journalism.

What is something about society that you wish to change?

There are two things I would like to change in society. The first one is to change people’s mindsets – they should treat everyone equally. The second thing is that I would like to have sport as a main subject for the curriculum. Skills such as leadership and learning to differentiate between winning and losing, etc. can be learnt through sports.

Picture Credit : Google 

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