Meet five young Indian girls, who are a massive inspiration to all- old and young. Ambitious, courageous and determined, they have not let their gender or age come in their way. From setting up an NGO for children in slum communities to selling art work to raise money for life-threatening diseases, these children have used their natural confidence and creativity to make milestones for the country.

An inspiration: 11-year-old girl refuses to tie the knot

11-year-old Rekha Kalindi refused to become a child bride. Since, then she has inspired thousands of girls across India. Rescued from child labour by a UNICEF educational programme, Rekha, already aware of the deep-rooted problems facing her society, grew confident in her own voice. When her parents took her out of school to make preparations for her marriage, they expected full obedience. However, the prospect of estrangement and beating from her family did not put young Rekha off. Her simple act of defiance inspired so many other young girls both in her village, Jhalda, near Kolkata, and in whole of India, to speak up against the prospect of a ruined childhood. Sometimes it is what you don’t do rather than what you do, which makes all the difference.

Source: ABC NEWS

Two birds in one stone: 16-year-old girl tackles polio and child marriage

16-year-old Sikha Patra is committed to improving health and sanitation in India as well as promoting gender equality. At the young age of 14, she joined the Kolkata youth group ‘Daredevils’. She and her group members went door-to-door to spread awareness about Polio vaccination booths in the area. They used puppetry to inform the children about the importance of disease prevention, and eventually helped to make her village Polio-free. Recently, Patra, recognised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has also been campaigning for women’s rights. She has created a three minute video, Rivers of Life, about young unmarried girls standing up for themselves, and this video went on earn international recognition. Patra's work in raising awareness for the vital problems are phenomenal.

Source: ImpatientOptimists

16-year-old waves her magic brush to bring relief to the underprivileged

Anjali Chandrashekar is a volunteer, activist and artist- all at the tender age of sixteen. She began painting before the age of five, and was teaching at a centre for the underprivileged when she was only ten. Now, Anjali has combined her passion for art with her love for helping others. She produces artwork which raises awareness and funds for issues such as natural disasters, prevalent diseases in India, child abuse and the rehabilitation of underprivileged children. In 2008, for instance, she raised around $5000 for an international Diabetes charity by creating a poster; this money went on to provide insulin for many impoverished children with the disorder. Her art work has been purchased by several charities, including UNICEF and UNESCO, and has proved that art really can make a difference.

Source: Youth Ki Awaaz

18-year-old transforms the streets of Delhi

Rashi Anand was only 18 years old when she founded Lakshyam, an NGO that provides education and employment for street children and women in seven states in India. Originally from Delhi, Rashi was inspired to change the lives of the people of her city. A child herself when she set up the library, Rashi created a Toy Library, which has since delivered donated books and toys to over two lakh underprivileged children in India. She also set up schools in Delhi which have provided English, Maths and Computer Skills training to 300 children living in the red light areas. Finally, as a young woman witnessing gender inequality in society, Rashi made sure a strand of her NGO was dedicated to empowering women in India. The charity has helped around 200 women in the villages of Jharkand gain training in stitching, sewing and jewellery making.

Source – Lakshyam

Not yet 18, but committed to bringing Women on Wheels

Avani Singh, a 17-year-old female entrepreneur from Delhi, founded an organisation, Ummeed, which gives training to women in slums to become taxi and rickshaw drivers. Singh came upon this idea after reading about new, electric-powered rickshaws that are also much easier to pedal. Receiving her first rickshaw from the local firm Green Wheels, Singh first provided employment to a 33-year-old single mother. Since then, her organisation has helped many others out of poverty in Delhi, whilst also bringing women into what was previously imagined to be a male profession. Most amazing of all, Singh has helped these women get on the road before she herself can legally learn to drive.

Source: Ted X

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