From developing a medical app to help people find a doctor that they want, to starting a revolution to save the Indian rivers, to launching a digital solutions company at 16 — the young brigade is breaching new frontiers to better the lives of others. SHALINI SAKSENA brings you a report
Pledging to save the rivers
17 YEARS OLD
Founder, Save The Spirit of The Sea Foundation
What would one expect from a student of The British School, New Delhi? Definitely not getting his hands dirty. But this exactly what Sumair Bakshi and his team is doing — helping save the rivers of India. In addition to cleaning the river, the team has been educating locals about sustainably living by the river. Through a series of self-curated content, they plan to spread the word and make the cause of the Ganga and her species viral.
In November 2019, Bakshi gathered a team of 15 people who travelled to the Vikramshila Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar to film the last remaining dolphins. “Swimming with these rare species and being in their presence was nothing short of a blessing. This is key for our upcoming movie which aims to create awareness about the species of the river and raise the platform for the Ganga and raise funds,” Bakshi says.
The funds gathered will be used to help expand their clean-up operations, start monitoring dolphins and species in the river to provide regular updates about their situation as well as launch the film to commemorate our efforts and inspire more people to act. Bakshi raised `10 lakh from friends and family, some from crowd funding, to save the river — from Nissan and an additional `4 lakh from ImpactGuru.
His interest began in 2013. Back then it was just a website with a few social media pages creating awareness about marine life.
“I was born and brought up in Botswana, South Africa. I had the privilege and the opportunity to travel the world and see wildlife and developed a passion. When I was six, I visited Ganga in Haridwar, I was shocked to see the pollution. This is when my mother told me about the dolphins. When I turned 13, I created a website and a few social media handles and as I grew my passion and vision grew as well,” Bakshi tells you.
In 2015, he got a petition signed by 4,000 people across Delhi and with a few friends visited the Japanese Embassy in India to submit the petition with a protest against dolphin slaughter. In 2017, he started his most ambitious project yet — on river Ganga — creating awareness and sensitisation about the species.
“I was taken aback when I visited Bihar and found that there is Ganges shark and there are less than 10 left in the river today. The same holds true fore the gharials; their number less than 600 and for the dolphins, it is less than 2,000. I believe that through a series of content we can spread awareness not only nationally but locally too. Also, through a series of five-seven minute films, we can bring not only educate the locals who are living alongside the river but the youth as well. We are going to release the first part in February,” Bakshi tells you.
One of the largest projects was for river Yamuna where over 100 students came together to collect the trash and talk to people to not throw plastic bags into the river with the flowers. “Though the river may be dead in Delhi, but if river Thames can be revived, the same can be done in the Capital as well. Now that I will be off to college soon, I want to raise funds through merchandise and hence not rely on donations,” Bakshi says who is heading to the US for further studies to pursue a career in renewable energy and international business.
However, his foundation will continue to work towards conservation even though he will be away, for the time being.
Delivering brand solutions at 16. LAKSH BUCHA
17 YEARS OLD
He started on his entrepreneurial journey when he was just 13; he was writing tech-related content. From there he went on to exploring starting a smartphone company but realised that he needed huge funds. So he started exploring other avenues like stocks, domain industry, crypto trading and creating digital assets that include affiliates and e-commerce till he finally settled down to set up Growthxo. Meet Laksh Bucha, a 17-year-old entrepreneur from Kolkata.
He tells you that from the very beginning he wanted to things differently and think out-of-the-box. “I used to create different things even as a child. After exploring a lot of avenues I decided to open my own company to provide digital and PR-related services,” Bucha says who has 35 employees working for at present. He is planning to bring more under his company — hiring another 200 professionals — by the end of this year.
They have two offices in Kolkata where there are people who come to him for services. He is also in the proces of opening an office in Delhi. There are plans to open an office in the US as well since he started with US clients. However due to the COVID-19 things have not be able to move at the pace that he had set.
His company has a good reputation as they have successfully completed many projects. Word of mouth also gets him clients. Other times, his team goes out looking and offering their services. The next few years will be spent in making a conglomerate and going public with it. Plans are also afoot to enter the power, transport, EV and Logistics by providing them with different kinds of services.
“Our vision is to go bigger by providing a plethora of services for different industries — various companies providing different service to different industries. At present, Gorwthxo is doing well and pushing growth with a good client base. But I am tech-driven and looking for ways on how to amalgamate the same and create business solutions.
“We are still in talks and early to give a concrete picture but what we are planning to do in the automobile industry, if it pans out and we are in talks with big players, it will revolutionarise the sector. It will be on how to shift to resources that are going to be more sustainable in the future. For example, people are already shifting from petrol cars to electric. What we are going to do is work on similar lines and come up with better alternative,” Bucha tells you.
To being with, his parents didn’t understand what Bucha was doing and insisted that he spend his time studying instead of spending time creating content by reviewing gadgets and writing about them. Slowly, they understood what he was doing. His father a businessman himself, he deals in textile, medicine and real estate.
“He supported me a lot. He knew that my work would take me ahead. I didn’t want to join his business. I wanted to do things my way and do things independent of my family business. The business that my dad created was his hard work, I wanted to do things my way,” Bucha says. He hates the word start-up since people react to it in a different manner which doesn’t always work i work for the new company.
Instead of wasting time during the lockdown, he spent time to better his services. “We have seen how big a role technology has played in our lives and future business is going to be more tech-driven,” Bucha says.
He tells you that marks don’t really define you as a person. “Marks are just a number. What matters in life is your capabilities and how you make use of that to get ahead in life. A lot of parents have realised that marks are not what will get their ward ahead in life. What should focus is on goals and go about achieving those. With time, more and more parents will understand this. Education industry is changing as well,” Bucha says.
App XDOC+ to help a patient find relevant doctor
NINE YEARS OLD
One would not expect a Class V student to spend his time coding and making an app when most kids his age are busy playing or spending their time time games online. But Pranet Pahwa of Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad is not your average kid. While cost children were busy enjoying the free time that they had got due to the present pandemic Pahwa was busy making a medical all.
An app, one is told, is not a profit making app but to explain about various healthcare issues in detail so that patients can understand the disease and reach the right consultants for treatment and their overall healthcare management. Besides, providing information about the disease and identifying the right doctors associated with its treatment, this app also helps in getting the appointment under one platform. It took Pahwa approximately three weeks to develop.
“My father is associated with healthcare organisations. Therefore, I developed interest around issues of patient care, doctors and healthcare at an early age. During the lockdown due to COVID 19, I could understand the worries around healthcare and poor accessibility, so I decided to do something about it. Besides academics, my school helps me engage in building skills to solve real life problems and this is how I decided to create this app. My coding skills were helpful to get started in creating a user-friendly healthcare app XDOC+ which provides easy access to healthcare experts for people,” the nine-year-old says.
During the pandemic, he realised the importance of healthcare and the necessity of it to be easily accessible to the patients. I also felt this problem could be best addressed with the use of technology and creating an app was a natural steep to take.
“My aim was to develop a platform which would be easy to use and provide a range of services for patients with healthcare needs,” Pahwa tells you. All one has to do is register. Once, it gets registered it will work as a live app where timely updates would be followed with more features. At present, it works on android and is easy to use.
“The pandemic has adversely affected the entire world and our everyday lives. However, the lockdown also gave us enough time to think creatively about resolving issues related to the pandemic and be more innovative. I have been exposed to the creative uses of technology from an early age given that our school exposes us to different ways technology can be leveraged to solve real world problems,” Pahwa says. His favourite subjects are Math and Computer science.
The app is an effort in the same direction and he was able to achieve this goal with a lot of hard work and focus juggling both online classes and app development work. Not only did this Class V student make an app, he was awarded for the same last month.
“While surfing the Internet, I found about the MIT App competition. I found more details about it on their website and realised that students from across the globe participated in the competition. Once I was convinced I discussed it with my teachers and parents and they encouraged me to apply. My parents helped me fill out the registration and submit my app. I feel motivated that such honour has come to me at this age. I want to do more and provide better solutions through digital medium to our community at large,” Pahwa tells you.
He used to discuss the concept with his father who is in a private sector with a leading healthcare organisation and his mother who is a homemaker. His teachers also motivated him to take this up and finally create a platform which is useful for the people.
“When I came up with this idea, my parents were really excited and encouraged me to pursue my goals. L love coding so I want to pursue a career in computers. My aim is to become a leader of a leading global organization and work towards providing solutions to the problems people face in their everyday lives,” Pahwa says who is on to his next app already.
“I have a couple of ideas which I want to work on but it is too early to share my thoughts. I want to have a concrete plan before I disclose the details of my work,” Pahwa says.