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Taking Every Challenge in Their Stride: Meet The 22 change-makers Of #SheTheChange

SheTheChange
And it’s a wrap for the #SheTheChange 2022 campaign, presented by the New Zealand High Commission in partnership with SheThePeople TV. The campaign, which played on the year 2022 to spotlight 22 women in their 20s, introduced us to incredible women change-makers from New Zealand and India, as well as the countries accredited to the High Commission, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Launched on Women’s Day on 8 March, the campaign ran for 13 weeks until 5 June, Environment Day, and marked Ocean Week, World Water Day, World Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, and Pride Month by profiling change-makers whose work has positively impacted their communities and the world around them in the fields of environment, agriculture, water security, conservation, sustainability, physical and mental well-being, sports, youth affairs, women’s empowerment, women’s rights, disability rights, and inclusion and diversity.

Shining the spotlight on these role models, we aimed not only to spread the word about the impactful and important work they are doing, but also to enable a network connecting these young leaders across four countries, building people-to-people links in the process.

Here’s a quick round-up of our 22 change-makers and the inspiring work they are doing, taking every challenge in their stride.

Alexia Hilbertidou, 23, New Zealand

Founder of Girl Boss New Zealand, one of New Zealand’s largest organisations for young women, aiming to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, maths, leadership and entrepreneurship. It has 13,500 members, and has impacted 40,000 students in 100+ high schools.

Annika Andresen, 27, New Zealand 

Environmental educator, full-time ocean explorer and advocate for marine conservation. Annika holds a Master of Architecture degree and her interests in design, communication and the marine environment have led to integrating scientific exploration with visual storytelling to enhance people’s understanding of the ocean.

Bushra E. Anjum, 27, Bangladesh

Entrepreneur, educator and scientist. Co-founder of Wizkit, an education innovation organisation providing STEM-based learning resources to school students, and of Shapla Wellbeing, an organisation promoting a healthy menstrual hygiene ecosystem.

Courtney Davies, 26, New Zealand

Agricultural leader, microbiologist, rural ambassador across four countries, and the youngest person to be elected to the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand Executive. Courtney has educated more than 30,000 people on sustainability using virtual reality and environmental leadership programmes.

Diksha Dinde, 28, India

Disability rights and social activist. Born with paraplegia, Diksha has conducted awareness sessions on disability and inclusion in more than 250 schools and other institutions. She also runs a start-up called The Womanism and is founder-director of YOGI (Youth Organization for Green India).

Dipika Badal, 24, Nepal

Youth activist and environmentalist. As President of ‘We’ for Change, Dipika engaged with 2500+ young people across the country through social-impact projects and leadership, civic engagement and capacity-building activities, empowering them to create change at the grassroots level.

Dutee Chand, 26, India

India’s fastest woman (100 metres), Olympian, and the country’s first athlete to come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Dutee made history by winning the right to compete as a woman, arguing at the Court of Arbitration of Sport that women athletes should not be discriminated against for their natural levels of testosterone.

Garima Shrestha, 26, Nepal

Doctor and founder of SHE Nepal, an NGO working for women’s health and empowerment. SHE Nepal distributed 10,000+ reusable sanitary pads to women and menstruating individuals from marginalised communities during the pandemic. Fighting social taboos, Garima has been urging people to stop ‘chhaupadi pratha’, the practice of using isolated huts during menstruation.

Garvita Gulhati, 21, India

The Water Girl of India who, with her team, has prevented millions of litres of water from being wasted across 500,000 eateries in India since 2015; co-founder of Why Waste, one of India’s largest youth-led organizations working for water conservation.

Gulnahar Mahbub Monika, 26, Bangladesh

National-level basketball player and co-founder of Deshi Ballers, an organisation that mentors and promotes female basketball players. A computer science and software engineer, she’s now aiming for a master’s degree in Sports Management.

Irihapeti Edwards, 23, New Zealand

International business consultant and financial literacy champion. Passionate about women’s empowerment, education, community engagement and financial literacy, Irihapeti became one of the youngest people to be employed by a ‘Big Four’ professional services firm when she joined Deloitte at the age of 18.

Jacinta Gulasekharam, 26, New Zealand 

Social entrepreneur and co-founder of Dignity that makes affordable and sustainable period products available for all menstruators. Her organisation supports 203 youth and community groups and schools, and has reached 44,718 people. Jacinta was also the Campaign Lead for the Positive Periods campaign that led the Government of New Zealand to commit to free period products for students for three years.

Nidhi Pant, 28, India

Co-founder of Science for Society – S4S Technologies which trains small-holder women farmers to be entrepreneurs by providing a combination of technology, finance and market, and increasing their household income by 100-200% annually. S4S works with more than 20,000 farmers and 800 women entrepreneurs and, in the process, prevents over 30,000 tons of CO2 from entering the environment.

Rizvana Hredita, 29, Bangladesh

Co-founder of Hydroquo+, Bangladesh’s first hydro-informatics R&D start-up that uses artificial intelligence to improve water management. She also founded the education technology platform Lingwing Bangladesh Edtech that provides personalized education and enables users to develop language skills in an affordable way.

Sheetal, 26, India

Youngest woman in the world to summit Mt Annapurna in 2021, and Mt Kanchenjunga in 2018. She also scaled Mt Everest in 2019. Co-founder of Climbing Beyond The Summits that trains women and girls in adventure sports and links it to their livelihood. She is an ambassador of the Government of India’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padao’ campaign to educate and empower girls.

Shitanshu Dhakal, 21, Nepal

UNICEF youth advocate for mental health, and co-founder of Aarogya Foundation which was established to facilitate a favourable environment for the mental well-being of adolescents. A medical student, Shitanshu has been advocating for the inclusion of mental health education in the school curriculum.

Shubhangi Rana, 25, and Jesselina Rana, 26, Nepal

Co-founders of Pad2Go Nepal, a social enterprise that promotes menstrual health management. They have installed 285 vending machines across the nation to make period products accessible and affordable to all menstruators. Since August 2020, they have been lobbying for the removal of the 13% VAT currently levied on all period products in Nepal.

Sophie Handford, 21, New Zealand

Climate activist and politician. Sophie founded School Strike 4 Climate in New Zealand and went on to coordinate the movement which mobilised 170,000 people across the country in September 2019. At 18, Sophie was elected as one of New Zealand’s youngest councillors, and now holds the Climate and Youth portfolios on the Kāpiti Coast District Council.

 

Suhani Jalota, 27, India

Founder and CEO of Myna Mahila Foundation that has reached the doorstep of more than 1 million women in urban slums, offering health education, sanitation awareness and products to address sexual and reproductive health concerns. Suhani aims to scale up to provide health services to 2 million women, and job opportunities for 100,000 women by 2025.

Tahia Farhin Haque, 25, Bangladesh

Award-winning visual artist and photographer who uses her art to question the prejudice and perceptions of society, especially about women’s freedom of expression. Her work has been exhibited at Aperture Gallery, New York; Serendipity Festival, India; and the Dhaka Art Summit, and been featured in international publications including Forbes and The New York Times.

Tayla Nasmith, 21, New Zealand

Founder of the not-for-profit organisation Mummys in Need to provide material aid—nappies, clothes, baby food, cots, prams, car seats, toys—to struggling mothers. She also runs Giggle and Grow, a parent support group, and Nurturing Arms, an in-home respite care support service for single mothers.

Varsha Raikwar, 27, India

Radio presenter and climate warrior. Varsha has been educating people on climate-change mitigation measures in India’s drought-prone Bundelkhand region through the community radio station Radio Bundelkhand. Varsha’s efforts to promote sustainable practices have reached more than 200 villages, prompting the community to take up eco-friendly farming methods and water conservation.

We thank our change-makers for weaving together this tapestry of inspirational stories of dreaming big dreams and making them happen, just so the lives of others around them can improve. Here’s to the #SheTheChange Terrific22!

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