Category Wonder Kids

Who won the World Robot Olympiad 2020?

As climate change rattles the world, technology has come to the fore to help the environment. Over the years, youngsters around the world have come up with different innovations to do their small bit for the environment. Two such young minds are Prisha Patel (12) and Antara Patel (11) from Mumbai, India.

The students of Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai, won the recently concluded World Robot Olympiad held in Canada. Antara and Prisha formed Team Technonerds under the tutelage of On My Own Technology (OMOTEC), Mumbai, and the team was placed first in the Open Category of the Olympiad. Climate Squad, which was the theme for this year’s competition, required the two to innovate and design a solution to a climate problem. “We are proud to have represented India in the competition especially because our solution helps the environment.” says Prisha, one half of Team Technonerds.

Their idea

With the theme in mind, the girls started to look for a solution that can help the environment. And what better way than starting with appliances in one’s own home? The girls looked at appliances used daily by people and thought of a way to improve the efficiency of a device and reduce electricity consumption. They zeroed in on the air conditioner as it consumes electricity the most, while also letting out hot air from the outdoor unit. The girls started devising a solution to cool this hot air and reduce the impact of air conditioners on the climate. After much research they finalised on using clay cones to cool down the air.

How it works

The girls devised a system called Aqua Clay Atmosphere Cooler or ACsquare, which uses a natural filtering screen made using clay cones arranged in an aluminium frame. The cones on the screen are kept moist with recycled water, and as hot air passes through these moist cones, it significantly cools down. The girls used the concepts of Boyle’s Law & Venturi Effect to select the shape and size of the cones. Temperature and humidity sensors connected with an Arduino circuit (robotic circuit) were used to keep track of the performance of the AC and the filter. With help from OMOTEC the two developed an app with MIT App Inventor, using which one can get full information on all the testing parameters directly on the phone. The app gives data which allows the user to set the correct temperature for optimum cooling and energy efficiency.

According to Prisha, the girls were very happy to come up with a solution to help the environment using clay, which is a traditional material used in India for hundreds of years. This also made their solution more eco-friendly and sustainable.

The only all-girl team

“I love innovating and coming up with different solutions”, says Antara. Prisha and Antara took a liking for STEM, a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – early on and have been attending classes at OMOTEC for the past four years. The two have competed in several competitions over the years. Last year, Prisha was part of a team that represented India at the First Lego League in Lebanon Antara meanwhile represented the country with her team in Turkey.

The World Robot Olympiad was the second time the two were coming together for a competition. But this time, the two of them were very excited as they were one among a handful of all-girl teams in the competition. However, they were really happy to see more girls taking part in STEM. “Compared to the earlier years, participation of girls has increased a lot.” says Antara.

When quizzed about STEM and the prospects of more children taking it up. Prisha states, “The future of the world is technology and we have enjoyed learning STEM. We are sure that a lot of others who haven’t had the chance to take up STEM will love it if they are given a chance.” The girls believe schools play a huge role in encouraging children to take up STEM.

The two now look forward to developing a career in STEM and competing in more competitions. Moving ahead, Antara and Prisha would love to solve problems of a much larger scale than the ones they are working on currently.


Picture Credit : Google

Who built a wind turbine to power multiple electrical appliances in his family’s house?

Being asked to drop out of school because one cannot afford the fees can be heartbreaking for someone who wants to learn. William Kamkwamba had to quit his schooling when his family ran out of funds to support his education because of a famine. But William loved learning new things, and school education wasn’t the only way for him to do so. This is his story.

The drive to learn

William Kamkwamba was born on August 5, 1987 in Dowa, Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Masitala village, Wimbe.

William was educated in Wimbe Primary School and on the completion of his eighth grade, was accepted to Kachokolo Secondary School.

William was just a few months into his freshman year at school when his family asked him to drop out. They were unable to fund his schooling as the famine in the country in 2001 had pushed them into a financial crisis.

Though he was upset, William did not accept his fate. Instead, he started borrowing books from a small community lending library in his primary school. As he kept reading more and more books, he started to develop intrest in electronics. He would also repair radios in the village, though it would not earn him much money.

Harnessing the wind

One day in the library, he found two textbooks related to energy and electricity – Explaining Physics, and Using Energy. The cover of Using Energy featured towering windmills which “appeared so powerful that they made the photo itself appear to being motion”. It also explained in detail how to make a windmill and its many uses.

William was inspired by the image and the topic. He thought windmills might be the answer to bring Malawi out of darkness.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa, short on many resources. However, the country receives a steady wind flow, making windmills a viable option for producing electricity.

William decided to build a windmill of his own to power bulbs in his home. He started with a small prototype using a radio motor. Then, with help from his friend and a cousin, William started his search for makeshift parts to construct the real windmill.

His plan was to attach blades to the axle of a bicycle and generate electricity through a bike dynamo (a small electrical generator for bicycles). So, when the wind blows the blades, the sprocket and bike chain would spin the bike wheel that would charge the dynamo and send current to the house through a wire.

He sourced the parts of his windmill through a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, an old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. He hooked the windmill to a car battery for storage of electricity.

When he was done, his windmill’s wing span measured eight feet and sat atop a 15-foot-tall rickety tower.

His creation was a success, and hid house and his windmill managed to light up his house and also charge the mobile phones of neighbours.

The word spreads

William’s windmill attracted attention from the moment it was completed. Villagers thronged his home to see the windmill.

In 2006, an education official from the region who heard about the windmill, came to see the it and was shocked to know that William had been out of school for nearly five years.

Impressed by his creation, the official arranged for William to attend secondary school at the government’s expense. He also invited journalists to see the windmill, and a story was published in the Malawi Daily Mail. This, in turn caught the attention of bloggers and the organisers for the Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) conference.

In 2007, William spoke at the TED global conference in Tanzania. Post which, venture capitalists stepped forward with offers to fund his education and projects.

Spreading his wings

The money from capitalists helped William put his cousin and several other friends back in school. It also paid for his family’s medical needs.

With the money, William also went on to drill a borehole for a well and water pump, install drip irrigation in his father’s fields, and install solar panels in his and a few other homes.

William finished his schooling and attended the Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, the U.S., where he graduated with a degree in 2014.

He is currently working with organisations and helping in developing infrastructure in his village and country.

What makes him special?

Despite facing financial constraints, William found a way to pursue his love for learning and, in turn, lit up homes and the lives of the people in his village.


Picture Credit : Google

What did Kelvin Doe Do?

They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what do you do with scrap? You invent!

Kelvin doe from Sierra Leone, Africa, scoured trash bins in his neighbourhood for scrap material when he was 10. Why? To turn them into something useful for his community because the country was just recovering from the effects of a decade-long Civil War, which had left them lacking in infrastructure such as power supply.

Now, 23, Kelvin has invented many things and hopefully, inspires the youngsters in his country to do the same too.

This is his story.

Bringing light to homes

Born on October 26, 1996 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Kelvin Doe wanted to do something for his neighbourhood’s intermittent power supply and frequent blackouts when he was 10. He started working on his skills and began collecting scrap materials from trash bins. By the time he was 13, he came to be known as a ‘self-taught engineer’ when he made his own battery, capable of powering homes. Kelvin combined acid, soda and metal, and put the ingredients in a tin cup. He waited for the mixture to dry and wrapped a tape around the cup to make his first battery. It might sound simple, but Kelvin failed several times before making a successful prototype. He hasn’t had to purchase a battery ever since, and his invention has helped power many gadgets in the neighbourhood.

DJ Focus

The curious mind didn’t top with just powering homes. He went on to power his own radio station as well. How, you ask?

Kelvin’s next creation was a generator. He modified an old rusty stabilizer he found in the dustbin and either picked the other components of the generator, such as the motor and plug, from the garbage, or made them at home.

And that’s how he powered his fully-equipped radio station, complete with a custom music mixer, recycled CD player and antenna, allowing his neighbours to tune in. Kelvin came to be known as the station’s DJ Focus, and his friends became journalists and station managers. The average age of his crew was 12!

In the spotlight

Kelvin’s talent found wider recognition when he won Innovate Salone in 2012. The competition encouraged students from Sierra Leone to invent solutions for problems they faced in their daily lives. Over 300 applications were submitted and eight finalists received several types of special assistance such as money to develop a prototype of their ideas and a three-day immersive summer innovation camp. Kelvin was one among them.

He travelled to the U.S. for the innovation camp and attended the 2012 World Maker Faire in New York, where he was part of the “Meet the Young Makers” panel with four American inventors.

From there, Kelvin went on to become the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also went on to present his inventions to undergraduate students at Harvard College, Cambridge, and the MIT.

In 2013, Kelvin signed a USD 1,00,000 solar project pact with Canadian high speed service provider Sierra WiFi, and in 2016, he became an Honorary Board member of Emergency USA. This is an organisation that provides free medical and surgical care to victims of war and poverty.

Kelvin today hosts workshops and supports youngsters of Sierra Leone by providing them educational resources and tools.

What makes him special?

Kelvin made the best use of the opportunity he had. From a ‘self-taught engineer’, who made things out of scrap, to signing a solar project contract, and providing support to youngsters in his country, Kelvin has come a long way.


Picture Credit : Google


Which is the brother-sister duo who raised their voice against the Nazi regime in Germany?

It is said that nothing in this world is constant, except change. This could be a change in situation, a change of place, a change in friends, or even a change in ideology.

This is the story of two siblings – Hans and Sophie Scholl – who were executed 77 years ago, on February 22, 1943 for speaking up against the Nazi regime in Germany in a non-violent way, using the power of language.

Growing up in Nazi Germany

Hans and Sophie Scholl were two among five children born to Robert and Magdalena. Hans, the elder of the two, was born in 1918, and Sophie in 1921.

The siblings were still in school when the National Socialist German Workers’ Party’s (the Nazi party) leader Adolf Hitler took power in 1933 as Chancellor of Germany.

Robert, their father, was a liberal man and taught his children tolerance. He did not approve of Germany’s new leader. However, Hans and Sophie grew up being fascinated with the idea of National Socialism. Both of them joined the youth wings of the party – Hitler Youth, and Union of German Girls – and quickly held leadership positions.

A change in views

During their time with the youth wing, the siblings witnessed the party. They realised that this was against their idea of National Socialism and slowly started to move away.

By 1942, the siblings left the youth wings. The same year, Hans, who was studying medicine at the University of Munich, was called to the Eastern Front to serve at the warfront along with other Medicine students. In the three months he spent at the Front, Hans witnesses the inhumanity of his government and the massive destruction caused by war. The students were also concerned about the fate of Jews who were deported.

By the time he returned, Hans was completely against the Nazi rule.

The White Rose

Soon, at the University of Munich, where the Schools were studying, a group started forming. Hans, Sophie, a few other students, and a philosophy professor formed the core of the group that came to be known as The White Rose – a student-led resistance movement.

The group managed to acquire a manual printing press and began creating leaflets that urged and encouraged people to resist the Nazi rule. “Do not forget that every nation deserves the government that it endures,” they wrote in the first pamphlet.

The White Rose started mailing the pamphlets to random people in the phone directory, took them in suitcases with them wherever they went, and left them in phone booths. They even started painting graffiti on the walls of the University of Munich with slogans such as “Freedom” and “Hitler the Mass Murderer”. Some of their work began spreading to places as far as Austria.

The White Rose did all this anonymously, since anti-Nazi speech was being monitored carefully by the Gestapo (the secret state police).

Capture and execution

On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie carried a suitcase filled with leaflets to the University of Munich and distributed them anonymously. They decided to empty the extra leaflets into the courtyard and were caught by custodian Jakob Schmid, who immediately informed the Gestpo.

The siblings were arrested and interrogated for nearly four days. Though they initially denied the acquisition, they later admitted to it, in a bid to save the other members of The White Rose. However, a note in Hans’ pocket unwittingly gave away the name of a third member.

On February 22, 1943, the three members were sentenced to death by the People’ Court, led by Judge-President Roland Freisler.

They were executed the same day by guillotine.

Subsequently, other members of The White Rose were captured and executed or imprisoned. But their resistance had left its mark.

What makes them special?

The Schools were courageous. They weren’t afraid to admit they were wrong in supporting the Nazi party, and neither were they afraid to raise their voices against the crimes committed by the Nazi government.


Picture Credit : Google

Who designed backpack to help children undergoing chemotherapy?

It’s not how expensive or fancy something is that matters. Sometimes, a small backpack can make a big difference in someone’s life.

When 11-year-year-old Kylie Simonds, now a teenager, from Connecticut, the U.S., was asked by her fifth grade teacher to come up with something that solves an everyday problem, she knew just what she wanted to create – a backpack. But why?

Facing everyday challenges

When she was just eight, Kylie was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer that affects the connective tissues in the body. Kylie had to undergo chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries while attending school.

After 46 weeks of struggle, Kylie was given a positive prognosis from the doctors at Yale Cancer Centre in Connecticut. Ever since, she has remained healthy.

However, having undergone cancer treatment herself, Kylie realised the everyday struggles associated with it. She started to lose hair and would fall sick easily. She would usually feel too weak to move around and do things. But on days when she was bright enough to go out and play, she faced the issue of immobility. Kylie had to carry intravenous (IV) poles with her everywhere she went. Often, the bulky pole, coupled with the IV drip bag attached to her, would come in the way of her play. She would often trip over wires, get tangled up in them and have to drag the pole around.

An innovation from a personal struggle

Thus, in 2014, her fifth grade teacher asked the students of her class to come up with something that could solve an everyday problem, Kylie had the answer.

From her personal struggle, she knew just how much happiness a compact backpack, which could carry the drip bag, help a child with cancer. In her words, “I would have loved this thing for myself.”

She worked with her parents to design the bag. She sought tips from her doctors and nurses to design the best version she could. The one thing on everyone’s mind was the weight of the bag. It had to be light and portable.

A few weeks later, she had her prototype ready. The backpack, which featured a Hello Kitty (cartoon) design, included a metal drip bag protection cage to prevent the drip bag from puncturing. Kylie also built-in an IV controller for the drip bag’s flow rate.

Kylie and her parents then created an online fundraiser to raise money for the backpack design. They managed to raise close to USD 55,000.

Kylie also filed a patent application for her design and has been screening companies to make her idea a reality.

What makes her special?

Having overcome cancer, Kylie drew inspiration from her personal struggle to design something that could prove useful for others undergoing something similar. It might not be a cure, but her innovation manages to provide someone a chance to play without the worry of getting tangled up.


Picture Credit : Google

Who is India’s young climate warrior?

The defining moment

Thus began Licypriya’s activism. Though her father supported her, her mother was wary as she was worried about her future. But Licypriya decided to move forward and raise her voice against climate change and for disaster-risk reduction.

A year after Licypriya travelled around the world, having been invited by countires to address at events, her mother decided to extend her full support.

Licypriya garnered national attention in June 2019 when she protested in front of the Indian parliament. She protested for weeks, holding a placard urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Members of Parliament to pass the climate change law to control and regulate carbon emission. In doing so, she also became the one of the youngest climate change activists and earned the title ‘India’s Greta Thunberg’.

Soon, she was invited by several organizations and countries to talk about climate change. In September 2019, she was invited by UNESCO Partners’ Forum 2019 in Luanda City, Angola. She addressed the topic of climate change along with prominent leaders from African countries. She also took part in a climate strike in Luanda City along with over 50,000 children and youth.

In October, she started the Great October March 2019 at India Gate, New Delhi, with thousands of others. The March, which took place in various locations in the city, requested immediate action on climate change and the enactment of the climate change law in India. The same month, she brought out a device called SUKIFU (Survival Kit for the Future) to curb air pollution. The zero-budget kit (a portable mask) is designed from trash to provide fresh air.

From Manipur to Madrid

In December 2019, she was invited by the United Nations to speak at the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid, Spain. Though she was invited, she had to find a way to get to Madrid. Her father wrote to the Indian government requesting sponsorship, but there was no response from them. He then decided to crowdfund the tickets for them to Madrid. Her mother had to sell her gold bangles to book hotels for them. However, just as she was set to leave, the Spanish government intimated her about them sponsoring her accommodation.

When she made it to COP25, she became one of the youngest climate change activists in the world to address at the forum. She also got the chance to meet her inspiration Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist.

For her activism, Licypriya has won several awards including the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Children Award by the Khwad Foundation and World Children Peace Prize from Global Peace Index – Institute for Economics and Peace.

What makes her special?

Licypriya persistently worked towards her passion of speaking against climate change despite lack of support, first from her mother, then from the governmental activists in the world and has world leaders listening to her speak.


Picture Credit : Google

Who is Akshay Ruparelia?

Sometimes, great businesses start from a small idea. And if you keep an eye out, you might just spot the idea, like Akshay Ruparelia, the teenager from Harrow, London, did, Akshay set up an online real-estate business when he was 17, after he realised the hefty sum charged by high-end real estate agents in the U.K. Today, his business is one among the many successful ones in the U.K.

The idea

Akshay is from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, England. Living with his parents, both of them hearing impaired, Akshay was shocked to discover the costs.

After finishing his GCSEs (equivalent to Class X) he developed an app called HouseSmart. The app was aimed at connecting property buyers and sellers. However, he scrapped the idea even before launching it.

Then, when he has studying for his A-levels, Akshay came up with the idea of, a real estate website that he developed.

Setting up the site

Still a teenager, Akshay needed money to make his dream reality. He turned to his family and relatives for loan and they obliged. Akshay managed to obtain a 7,000-poind loan, a majority of which was provided by his uncle who had started and sold two online businesses of his own.

With the initial amount, Akshay managed to set up a very basic website and have it up-and-running from the bedroom of his house in 2016 when he was just 17.

The first client

Akshay knew that he might not get a client immediately. And he was patient. A few months after starting his website, he got his first customer from East Sussex, England. The customer wished to sell his house and some land, and Akshay decided to pay a visit to the place himself. He had his sisters, friend drive him since he was underage for a driver’s licence.

He met the client and got to work. A few weeks later, he managed to sell the house for a good rate, and Doorsteps received its first five-star review. Akshay, though, could not celebrate his success immediately since he had to study for his A-level examination.

Slowly and steadily, Akshay’s business began to grow. Still in school, he enlisted a call centre to take calls from clients when he was in school. Once home, he would attend to them. As his business began to grow, Akshay employed a network of mothers who show clients houses that are up for sale for a fraction of the cost that other real estate agents charge.

 Akshay’s business became so popular that in just over a year since it was started, it was listed as the 18th biggest estate agency in the U.K. This also made him the country’s youngest millionaire.

Today, Doorsteps continues to sell houses and is among the top companies in the U.K.

What makes him special?

Akshay identified a problem when he was helping his parents move homes and decided to devise a solution to tackle it. He worked hard, balanced education and business and managed to set up a successful business at a young age.


Picture Credit : Google

Why Mikaila Ulmer is famous?

If you were stung by a bee, twice, around the same time, you will probably run away from them the next time you see them. But four-year-old Mikaila from Austin, Texas, the U.S. became fascinated with them and is today selling lemonades and donating proceeds from her sales to organizations fighting for the survival of honeybees. This is her story.

Two stings and a cookbook later

In 2009, when she was just four, Mikaila’s parents, both with business degrees, encouraged her to come up with a product for an upcoming children’s business competition and for Austin Lemonade Day. She put on her thinking cap and was coming up with ideas when two interesting events happened in her life – in a span of two weeks, she was stung by two bees, and her great grandmother who lives in Cameron, South Carolina, sent the family a cookbook of hers from the 1940s.

These two moments were to define the path Mikaila was going to choose.

After she was stung by the bees, her parents encouraged her to read up about them and the things they do for the ecosystem instead of becoming averse to them. When she did her research, she learnt about the importance of honeybees and that their population was declining.

That’s when her great grandmother’s cookbook came in handy. Mikaila decided to use a special recipe of flaxseed lemonade her great granny used to make to start her own lemonade stall and help honeybees by contributing proceeds from her stall for their conservation.

This is how her company Me & the Bees was born.

An entrepreneur and a bee ambassador

Mikaila’s company made and sold flaxseed lemonade sweetened with local honey sourced from local beekeepers.

Year after year she would sell out of her Me & the Bees lemonade stall at youth entrepreneurial events and donate a percentage of the profit towards bee conservation.

As the business kept growing, her parents helped her strike the balance between her business and her school life.

In 2015, Mikaila’s business made a breakthrough when it won a contract to supply lemonade to supermarket chain Whole Foods Market. The same year, Mikaila appeared in the U.S. reality show “Shark tank” where she pitched her product to investors. Making an impact, Mikaila found an investor who invested USD 60,000 in her company.

Two years later, a consortium of current and former American football players invested USD 8,00,000 in Me & the Bees lemonade.

In 2015, Mikaila was also invited to the White House by then U.S. President Barack Obama.

Today, Mikaila has sold over a million bottles of her lemonade in the U.S. and is giving speeches at entrepreneurial conferences and workshops. In 2017, she launched her own non-profit – the Healthy Hive Foundation – to conduct research, education and protection projection for honeybees.

Her company continues to donate 10% of all profits to bee conservation groups.

What makes her special?

Her dedication, presence of mind and thought. Despite being stung by bees, she decided to read up on them and help towards their conservation by coming up with a business based on a recipe her great grandmother had sent her around the same time.

Today, even after being in business for nearly 10 years and selling millions of bottles, she continues to donate towards bee conservation.


Picture Credit : Google

Which kid invented device that converts energy from ocean currents into electricity?

Hannah Herbst from Florida, the U.S., is a teen inventor and social innovator. Currently studying Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University, Hannah believes computers provide a great platform to make people’s lives better.

Hannah has been involved in extra-curricular activities since she was very young – she has dabbled in singing and athletics. In her seventh grade, she was introduced to engineering as a platform for problem-solving when she attended a summer engineering camp. She was the only girl at the camp, which involved building robots. She learnt from her peers and online articles about how to program and build robots. Hannah found the camp interesting and started to develop an interest in engineering.

Later the same year, when she received a letter from her pen pal in Ethiopia, she realised how engineering could be used to solve problems such as energy poverty. This led to the birth of what was later called BEACON.

What about the letter inspired her?

When Hannah was in the fourth grade, her teacher introduced her class to a programme called Compassion International, where kids can connect with other kids in the world through a pen pal letter-writing system. During this programme, Hannah befriended Ruth from Ethiopia who was a few years younger than her. Ruth and Hannah would exchange letters every now and then.

Time passed by and when Hannah was in her seventh grade, Ruth wrote to her about the problems she was facing due to energy poverty. These included lack of electricity and access to clean water.

Hannah was moved by the problems faced by Ruth and people living in similar situations, and decided to use her newly found interest in engineering to create a device that would solve Ruth’s problems.

A BEACON of hope

Living in Florida and being surrounded by big bodies of water, Hannah decided to focus on using water her source for power. She started building a device called BEACON (Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy), which would tap energy from moving water and convert it into usable electricity. This could be used to charge batteries as well as a way to purify water using a process called two-phase microfiltration.

Initially, Hannah built a big, complicated, wave energy-collecting device, but the device would keep breaking. Her Science teacher urged her to take a different path, but she found it difficult to move away from the first prototype she built. She thought it would work.

However, she moved on, and working with her mentor, she finally built the prototype. BEACON fetched her the title of America’s Top Young Scientists in 2015, as she won the Discovery Education and 3M Young Scientist Challenge. BEACON was exhibited at the White House Science Fair, and Hannah has spoken about her invention at the United Nations Science, Technology and Innovation Summit.

She wishes to make BEACON a commercial device soon.

What makes her special?

Hannah empathised with Ruth’s problems and decided to use her interest in engineering to help her. Despite her prototype breaking several times, Hannah never gave up until BEACON became a reality.


Picture Credit : Google

What is special about Payal Jangid?

Children are considered innocent and playful, obvious of the evil around them. But today, these same innocent children are standing up to speak against the menaces that plague society at large.

Payal takes a stand

Payal Jangid from Hinsla, Rajasthan, was only 11 when she almost fell victim to child marriage. At an age when her parents should have placed a book in her hands and encouraged her to study, they planned to get her married.

But Payal decided to put up a fight – she refused to be one among the many little girls who are married off at a tender age. She contacted local activists in the village and shared her plight with them. They, in turn contacted Sumedha Kailash, the founder of the Bal Ashram Trust, a rehabilitation and training centre for the Save the Childhood Movement (Bachpan Bachao Andolan)

With her encouragement and support, Payal protested and raised hr voice against her family’s decision. Eventually, her parents relented and her marriage was called off.

But not everyone is this lucky. Several girls in rural India are trapped in the web of child marriage, and Payal wanted to put a stop to this.

A voice for others

Local activists spoke to Payal and other children about the plight of their peers. They also introduced them to the concept of a bal panchayat or child parliament in which local kids are elected to a village council.

Payal was chosen as the president of her village’s child parliament, and she decided to work with the local people and the panchayat to make Hinsla at Bal Mitra Gram (a village where children are withdrawn from labour units and sent to schools) and eradicate child marriage.

She also began organizing rallies and protests with the women and children in the village, providing them a platform to voice their concerns and opinions.

Payal educated people not just about social evils such as child marriage and child labour, but also about the importance of sending children to school.

Her efforts bore fruit when her village was declared a Bal Mitra Gram. Eventually, Payal and her bal panchayat also put end to child marriage in Hinsla.

For her activism, Payal was chosen as a member of the jury for the World’s Children’s Prize in 2013, received the Young Achiever Award by Reebok, and won the Changemaker Award at the annual Goalkeepers Awards by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF in 2019.

Payal continues to work for children’s rights.

What makes her special?

Payal raised her voice for her rights and those of others around her. She worked with activists to uplift her village, and as a result, Hinsla is today a child-friendly village and rid of the evil of child marriage.


Picture Credit : Google