(May 26, 2023) With their indomitable spirit, and deep-rooted cultural values, the Telugu diaspora has not only achieved unprecedented success but has also become an inspiring symbol of the Indian diaspora’s triumph. Following the footsteps of elders, the youngsters of the diaspora have been making a remarkable mark in various fields, showcasing their talent and accomplishments to the world. From academia to sports, entrepreneurship to activism, the young achievers have proven that age is no barrier to making a significant impact.
Global Indian looks at the young trailblazers who have defined the success inspiring not only their peers but also people from diverse backgrounds highlighting the potential and brilliance that lies within the Indian diaspora youth:
In 2021 the then 15-year-old Indian-American innovator Gitanjali was named Times first ever ‘Kid of the Year’ for her work in technology to tackle issues ranging from cyber bullying to contaminated drinking water. The youngster is Forbes 30 Under 30, America’s Top Young scientist. She has more than a dozen innovations to her name. Her first prototype in use – Tethysdetects detects contamination in water and shares that information through Bluetooth.
“All of us can make a difference. It’s just about finding that one thing you want to change. I want to use science to inspire kindness,” Gitanjali said in an interview with Global Indian. The youngster’s father hails from Hyderabad. She is closely associated with the city due her grandparents whom she meets almost every year.
Popularly referred to as the human calculator, the seventeen-year-old high-schooler of San Jose, California wears many hats. Apart from being a math genius, she is well-known for her abilities in STEAM – an educational approach that incorporates the arts into the more-familiar STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) model. The student, teacher, mathematician, artist, social entrepreneur, and a keynote speaker loves helping kids around the world and is a recipient of the Diana award. “I have helped raise more than $50,000 to support children around the world by using the gifts in math and art,” Apoorva told Global Indian.
The prodigy has received several global awards in mathematics such as the prestigious Davidson Fellow Laureate, Steven S Strogatz Prize for Math Communication, Spirit of Ramanujan Fellowship, and 2020 Global Child Prodigy Award. She has also received six Presidential Volunteer Service Awards in the US between 2016 – 2022 for her social work initiatives. Apoorva’s parents hail from Andhra Pradesh. The engineers moved to the US more than 20 years ago.
When the pandemic was at its peak, Indian-origin Dubai-based teen, Netra Venkatesh realised the potential of the webinars and how they connect the world. She was a student in grade IX then and wanted to harness the concept to connect people from far and wide. Soon she launched her social startup SpunkGo, an all-girls global organisation to make knowledge accessible in far-flung areas and managed to reach out to girls in 20 countries. “Even when the world has got back to its pre-pandemic way of functioning, the webinars are going to be staple as people have gotten habituated to impart and access knowledge through this medium. It is not going to die down,” Netra told Global Indian.
The non-profit has partnered with Canada based Simbi Foundation. Under this partnership, members of SpunkGo global voluntary programme conduct book narration sessions for displaced children staying in Bidibidi and Palorinya refugee settlements in Uganda so that they can learn by listening. Netra’s organisation also supports the less fortunate in partnership with Shower’s Education Centre & Orphanage, Dandora Slum, Kenya, The Al Noor Centre, UAE, and Hope Foundation, Chennai. The youngster’s parents hail from Andhra Pradesh and had moved to the Gulf before her birth.
Youth parliament member
New Zealand based Meghana is a member of the Youth Parliament, part of a novel method of functioning in the New Zealand government where youngsters get the opportunity to assist a minister. Citizens elect close to 120 MPs, each one of whom works in close association with a nominated Youth Parliament member. Meghana is assisting Waikato’s MP Tim van de Molen.
Nominated for the role in 2022, Meghana’s responsibilities include helping the MP deal with issues related to the youth and to act as their voice within the parliament. She has been working with the MP with a focus on shelter for people, especially in the wake of Covid-19 induced poverty and homelessness. Though born and brought up in New Zealand, the youth icon of the island country hasn’t forgotten her Indian roots. Visiting her native place, Tanguturu in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh with her parents has been an annual affair.
After several weeks of research and studies, Illinois based Sirihaasa was able to make a breakthrough, winning the prestigious Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing, which empowers students to pursue computing challenges beyond the traditional classroom environment. Sirihaasa, who has also received a cash prize of $10,000 for her project, is the first person to undertake such a ground-breaking initiative.
- Embracing multiculturalism: Diaspora kids often face challenges of navigating between multiple cultures and identities. They learn to thrive in different contexts and develop a unique set of skills that enable them to navigate multicultural settings.
- Appreciation for diversity: Diaspora kids often embrace and celebrate their heritage while also incorporating aspects of the local culture. They become bridges between cultures, promoting understanding and fostering inclusivity.
- Academic excellence and ambition: Driven by their families’ emphasis on education and their own aspirations for success, they often excel academically. Their accomplishments serve as a testament to their determination, and the opportunities afforded by their multicultural upbringing.
- Identity and empowerment: Diaspora kids often navigate the complexities of identity formation, reconciling their heritage with their experiences in the host country. Their achievements empower them to embrace their dual identities and become ambassadors for their heritage.