[100 Emerging Women Leaders] How Aashi Chandna’s Project Involve is galvanising the social media generation to contribute to causes they believe in
Aashi Chandna, a high school student of West Windsor-Plainsboro School District in New Jersey, US, has launched Project Involve, a platform that allows people of all ages to contribute to a cause.
At first glance, Aashi Chandna appears to be like any other high school junior--going to school, chilling out, and spending time with friends and family.
But very few are aware of her efforts to transform the world for the better.
A student at West Windsor-Plainsboro School District in New Jersey, US, Aashi is always on the lookout for volunteer work in her effort to support causes she cares about.
However, it is often a struggle to find projects to actively participate in. Social media posts and word of mouth are not enough and go only so far in getting people’s involvement in a bigger way.
As the high school junior observed her world reeling with the pandemic, climate crisis, and widespread social unrest, she felt the need to create a more active experience for students and connect them with causes they care about.
“You read the news, get informed and that’s it! You feel helpless because you can’t do anything. It’s very passive. Most of the time, we don’t know what to do or how best to participate beyond posting on social media and making small donations. It shouldn’t be this difficult to get involved,” Aashi says.
She came up with a solution: Project Involve. Launched in 2020, the platform helps teenagers get involved in different social, economic, environmental and political causes, make a difference in society, and keep up to date with the latest headlines.
The platform, which has gathered over 12,000 unique users from across 60 countries, puts up summaries of daily news sourced from different news portals. Under each article is a ‘help now’ button, which takes you to a partnered NGO and the reader can immediately begin to support.
It has currently partnered with 18 different NGOs. The initial goal was to target only high school students, but the NGOs provide many opportunities for all age groups.
“For me, natural disaster relief is something that I really care about,” says Aashi, who lived through the deadly tsunami with her family in Japan in 2011, and carried out volunteer work.
It took a lot of time for the young entrepreneur to gather the required knowledge and build the platform.
“My biggest struggle was reaching out to people and organisations and getting them to understand my idea. But I learnt everything in the process,” says Aashi, as she hopes to expand the reach of the platform beyond the US.
Instead of waiting for someone to create a solution for your problem, solve it yourself, Aashi says.
Edited by Teja Lele