We are the champions: meet 9 youngsters who made India proud in 2018


These talented youngsters seem to be on course to becoming the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. 

Remember how you wanted to change the world when you were young? Some children and young adults are actually doing it.

We bring to you the stories of nine youngsters who have made India proud. Their talent and work has put them on course to become leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. From exploring the correlation between circadian rhythms and the effectiveness of medical treatments to providing an end-to-end connection between e-waste producers and authorised recyclers, these young people are leading social change.

1. Arshdeep Singh

Source: The Indian Express

Ten-year-old Arshdeep Singh from Jalandhar has won the Junior Asian Wildlife Photographer award, in the 10-years-and-under category. His candid snap of two owlets staring out of a waste pipe clinched the title. The photograph - ‘Pipe Owls’ - earned him much applause at the award ceremony held at Natural History Museum, London, in October.

Arshdeep, who belongs to Jalandhar, was on a drive with his father when he came across the perfect frame on the outskirts of Kapurthala city, Punjab. He asked his father to stop the car and used a shallow depth of field to isolate the birds from the building behind them, creating a characterful portrait of a species that has adapted to urban life.

2. Prithvi Shaw

Eighteen-year-old Prithvi Shaw entered cricket record books by hitting a century on his Test debut against the West Indies. Prithvi’s century makes him the youngest Indian player to score more than 50 on a Test debut, beating former Indian cricketer Abbas Ali Baig’s record; Baig scored 112 runs against England at Old Trafford in 1959 at the age of 20 years and 126 days.

Prithvi opened for India during the two-match Test series at Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Rajkot. He scored a century on day one off just 99 balls, and became the second youngest Indian batsman to score a ton after Sachin. In total, Prithvi scored 134 runs off 154 balls (15 fours), and was caught out by bowler Davendra Bishoo. This innings also made him the seventh youngest centurion globally.

3. Nidhi Mayurika

This Bengaluru schoolgirl's innovative, space-based projects have helped her win the prestigious NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest for three consecutive years since 2016.

In 2016, when she first enrolled for the contest, the theme was virtual space colonies. Helped by her physics teacher, she devised Saikatam, a three-layered space colony for human settlement at Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 5 situated at 3,85,000 km. This is a space colony for humans to survive, evolve, and self-sustain. The space colony is akin to Earth with life gases, artificial gravity, water, and food.

In 2017, she came up with Soham, to launch satellites from satellites. Soham is a habitable space colony located 350 km from Earth at LEO, to build and launch satellites; it comprises an Inflatable Space Station. This year, Nidhi worked on her third project, Swastikam, a space colony built for synthetically designed and created organisms to adapt, evolve, and be independent in the new ecosystem. It helps organisms adapt to change in conditions such as radiation, heat, continuous daylight, and lack of gravity.

4. Team ‘Cantavits'

Creating history, a team of five young girls from India won a gold medal at the Technovation World Challenge in California. The girls also walked away with a $15,000 cash award. This is the first time India had a presence at Technovation.

Team 'Cantavits' comprises five students of Vishwa Bharati Public School, Noida. They include Aditi Jain (Class IX; the team leader), Sneha Agarwal (Class IX), Shraddha Chugh (Class XII), Shriya Shukla (Class IX) and Kritika Sharma (Class XII).

They spent eight months researching and developing an Android application called 'EEDO', which provides an end-to-end connection between e-waste producers and authorised recyclers who recycle e-waste in an eco-friendly manner without harming the environment and the health of those who recycle it.

5. Garvita Gulhati

Source: The Logical Indian

Garvita Gulhati, 18, is the only Indian among 60 youths from 42 countries to win the “Global Changemaker” title this year. Global Changemakers is a youth programme for social entrepreneurs and community activists. The changemakers were awarded the prestigious title at Zurich, Switzerland.

Garvita, a B Tech student from Bengaluru, is the co-founder of Why Waste, an organisation working towards conservation of water. The startup works with restaurants, helping them to prevent wastage of water left behind in glasses. Till date, they have saved over 8,00,000 litres of water. They also conduct workshops at schools, colleges, NGOs, and offices to raise awareness of water conservation.

6. Tanishq Abraham

Source: Indiatimes

Fifteen-year-old Indian-American Tanishq Abraham is the youngest Indian to become a bio-medical engineering graduate. Tanishq graduated from University of California, Davis, summa cum laude - an academic level of distinction used by educational institutions that signifies that a degree was earned “with the highest honour”.

A child prodigy, Tanishq had, at the age of five, cracked the math courses offered by Stanford University’s Education Programme for Gifted Youth in less than six months.

Tanishq is now motivated to find solutions to problems. He has designed a unique device that reduces complications while measuring the heartbeat of a patient with burns. The device, in its development phase, is designed to measure the heartbeat of a patient, without any physical contact.

Tanishq has already been accepted into the University of California, Davis graduate programme, where he plans to get his MD in the next four to five years.

7. R Praggnanandhaa

Image Credit: FirstPost

At the Gredine Open in Italy in June this year, India's flag soared high. Chennai's 12-year-old R Praggnanandhaa became the youngest Indian Grandmaster and the second youngest in the world. In 2016, Praggnanandhaa had become the youngest international master at 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days.

Teamed with Dutch Grandmaster Roeland Pruijssers, Praggnanandhaa was on top at the end of eight rounds with 6.5 points. At 12 years and seven months, Ukraine's Sergey Karjakin holds the record for being the youngest GM from 2002. India's very own Viswanathan Anand, the first ever GM, won the title at the age of 18.

8. Samaira Mehta

Samaira Mehta at a workshop | Source: Edsurge

Samaira Mehta isn’t your usual 10-year-old. This school student is the Founder and CEO of CoderBunnyz, a company that she founded when she was eight years old. CoderBunnyz has launched a STEM game with the same name to empower children to learn to code and become leaders in tech.

At 10, Samaira, now a Grade IV student in the San Francisco Bay Area, is drawing immense attention. The keynote speaker at the Diversity in Tech Conference hosted at Google Launchpad in August, she has been recognised by Santa Clara Board of Education. Samaira has won the Youth Entrepreneur award and been covered in over five continents and 11 countries by media companies like Sony, Mercury News, NBC, and many others. She received an encouragement letter from then US First Lady Michelle Obama in 2016 for her skills and idea implementation.

9. Samay Godika

After competing with 12,000 applicants at the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, 16-year-old Samay Godika emerged as a winner in the global science video competition and received a prize of $400,000. The global science competition is dedicated to science and mathematics. The platform allows teenagers to participate through engaging and imaginative videos that demonstrate difficult scientific concepts and theories in the physical or life sciences.

Samay, a student of Class XI, participated in the contest with his project on the circadian rhythm. “I first heard about the circadian rhythm when it was in the news as the 2017 Nobel Prize-winning topic in medicine. I zeroed in on this topic as it seemed to impact many facets of daily lives, including things like my asthma, the difficulty I face getting up early in the morning, etc,” he said.


Updates from around the world