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Devanshi Rathi: Going forward together

Devanshi Rathi: Going forward together

The power of collaboration

Reflecting on her Queen’s Young Leaders year and the Leading Change course Devanshi Rathi highlights the benefits for her organisation, Project Checkmate, and the importance of collaborating with other young leaders.

In June 2017 I came across the application for the final cohort of the Queen’s Young Leaders. I had this burning desire to take a shot at it. I knew that I had nothing to lose but to lose. So, I got to submitting the application form.

Then, one fine day, two days before my 18th birthday, I got the news that I had been selected as a highly-commended runner-up. I knew that this honour would take my project to another level altogether. I was quite right about that.

Growing through the programme

The Queen’s Young Leaders Platform has given opportunities that are hard to get normally. Through the programme, I:

  • got to learn from highly-qualified professionals in their field
  • embarked on the Leading Change course from the University of Cambridge, Institute of Continuing Education
  • met different leaders
  • and – most importantly – communicated my mission to other highly motivated individuals.

While on the Leading Change course, I registered Project Checkmate formally and expanded it to the sectors of healthcare, sustainability, sports, and education.

The platform also gave me the chance to collaborate with other young leaders. This helped me raise awareness about not only my project but about the other leaders’ projects as well.

Red is the New Green

I got the opportunity to work with Deane De Menezes from Mumbai, India, who is leading change through her organisation, Red is the New Green.

We couldn’t arrange a face-to-face session what with her being in Mumbai and my project being in Delhi. So we worked out the logistics and arranged for a phone call with my female students in the National Association of the Blind.

It was a session that the girls enjoyed and learnt from thoroughly.

In fact, their inhibitions about the issues they faced with their menstrual hygiene were easily shattered through Deane’s calming tone and way of speaking. They felt comfortable in a situation where otherwise they wouldn’t be.

This was a highly motivating outcome for me as well, because I believed that I could help the girls with the problems that they faced in their daily lives.

Act It Network

Another collaboration was with the young leader from Fiji – Elisha Bano – and her project the Act It Network.

It was an extremely interesting concept to talk about one’s thoughts out loud. My students and I shared our feelings and emotions, how we can improve as players and as citizens of the country and the world, and what it takes to solve problems.

It was another interesting session for all of us and without the Queen’s Young Leaders Platform it would have been unthinkable.

Devanshi with children from Project Checkmate

Devanshi with children from Project Checkmate

Gabrielle Davida Gay Trophy for Excellence in Reading and Literacy

Finally, I want to throw light on the collaboration between Project Checkmate and the Gabrielle Davida Gay Trophy for Excellence in Reading and Literacy.

It was initiated by a highly-motivated young individual – Gabrielle Davida Gay from Barbados. Her message on the Queen’s Young Leaders Workplace encouraged my energies into making the partnership happen.

It was successful when one of my students from Project Checkmate was awarded the prize for his success on the literary and sporting front. His emotions on getting the prizes from Barbados were inspirational and made me believe that the collaboration was successful and would continue in the future.

Confidence and dedication

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme has led me to kick up and take my work to the next level.

It has not only given the needed recognition to the work, but it has imbibed in me a spirit of focused dedication to empowering my mission and spreading it out to more people and countries.

The friendships that I have made through this programme have been amazing, and I hope to continue doing my work with more confidence and dedication than ever before.

Devanshi Rathi with children from Project Checkmate

"The friendships that I have made through this programme have been amazing, and I hope to continue doing my work with more confidence and dedication than ever before."

Devanshi Rathi