These teenagers are showing the world that you can be a changemaker at any age

With the hustle culture well established in India, these teenagers are proving that age is not a barrier to achieving goals in life.

Age is just a number and technology the big equaliser in the modern age. In this digital world, what you need is grit and determination to carry your ideas through. 

Teenagers are making the most of the opportunities available to them, and are starting up young is no longer limited to men and women in in their 20s. They are also breaking other barriers and stereotypes and excelling in fields of their choice.

We profile some teenagers entrepreneurs, who may be early starters in business, mountaineering, or the arts, but are raring to go.

Avantika Khanna, 17

Seventeen-year-old app developer Avantika Khanna founded India Story which tells the intriguing tales behind Indian monuments. 

A student of humanities of Shri Ram School, Aravalli Campus in Gurugram, Avantika was initially awestruck by the well-preserved beauty of Fort of Edinburgh. Wanting to preserve the historical monuments of India as well, she started curating detailed stories in audio format.

In order to enrich the app with content, she brought together a team of 30 history lovers and students who work as writers, marketing experts, photographers, and programmers to collaborate in the project. 

She also faced a fair share of challenges including neglect from investors and many naysayers but soon secured funds from the Indian Angel Network. 

More recently, the young entrepreneur presented the app to the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism and received guidance on app development. Currently, she is working to incorporate religious tourism as well.

Apoorvi Bharatram, 17

Apoorvi Bharatram grew up seeing her sister battle with clinical depression. While she understood the importance of counsellors and psychiatrists, she noted that access to quality mental healthcare was a problem, especially in government schools.

This led her to start the Happiness project which follows a three-step model which helps gauge the happiness quotient of students in government schools and trains teachers as para-counsellors as well. It assesses students in areas of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and body image issues.

In an earlier interview, Apoorvi told YourStory that the management, teachers, and students are more aware of mental health related issues.

Selected as an Ashoka’s ‘Everyone a Changemaker’, Apoorvi will be pursuing her studies in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Kaamya Karthikeyan, 12

Twelve-year-old Kaamya Karthikeyan grew up listening to stories of an expedition to the Himalayas from her father S Karthikeyan, a commander in the Indian Navy.

Soon, he started teaching her the basics of mountaineering and started taking her on treks to Lonavala, in Pune at the age of three and Roopkund in Uttarakhand by the time she was nine-years-old.

Today, she is the youngest girl in the world to summit Mt Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. A student of Navy Children School in Mumbai, she scaled the 6962 metres mountain on February 1 and hoisted the Indian flag at the peak. 

Some other peaks she has scaled are Mt. Kilimanjaro which is the highest peak in Africa, Europe’s highest mountain Mt. Elbrus and Australia’s tallest mountain, Mt. Kosciuszko.

Ayushi Poddar, 19

Shooter Ayushi Podder grew up wanting to become a dancer or model and got trained in classical dance. However, at 14, she picked up a sports rifle at her father’s insistence and there has been no looking back since then. 

Her father Pankaj Podder was a professional shooter running an academy and Ayushi underwent rigorous training under his guidance in the evenings after school. In 2014, Ayushi emerged as a state champion. 

The young shooter, who is part of the junior Indian shooting team, believes that success takes time but will happen. She won the silver medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions team event, in the Asian Championships at Doha. 

In an earlier interview with HerStory, Ayushi shared that she wants to challenge herself and excel in all three events - 10m, 50m prone and 50m positions. 

Harshita Jain, 16

At 16, Harshita Jain has founded a tea startup called Necessiteas that specialises in making bubble tea. A student of American Embassy School in New Delhi, Harshita had her eureka moment during a Young

Entrepreneurs Academy class where they came across a story involving bubble tea. 

Her own love for bubble tea aside, she noted that quality bubble tea was not easily available in India and took the plunge to start up.

Today, some of the flavours like Tapioca Pearl for the venture are being imported from Taiwan.  Currently, the tea is being produced at her house with the support of her family and Harshita plans to open pop-up stores soon. 

Growing up listening to the stories of her grandfather who is an entrepreneur, Harshita always wanted to start something and found that chance in bubble tea. 

(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)


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