Anya Thakur: “I achieved something near and dear to my heart — helping to empower and create opportunities for not only women and girls, but people and finding my voice. Now I’m shining a light on women feeling empowered to use their voices.”
Celebrating the holidays with my @unwomen family and turning my wishes and aspirations into real-world change!
As a @metowe and @wemovement partner, I’m planning to support homeless women in my community through collecting sanitary napkins, blankets and other products to help them feel more comfortable this winter.
And as servant leaders, let’s work to develop a global perspective that encompasses the experiences of those in need and make an impact for social good.
During my stay at Mandalay Bay and growing up, I strive to be aware what I could do to make a difference. From volunteering on LA’s Skid Row and requesting local bakeries to donate food to the homeless, I had incredible conversations that broadened my views at a young age right in my hometown nestled in the Golden Coast and requested the same from the kitchens at my hotel.
My UN Women campaign to educate and empower girls is the first to be launched by an Indian teen. I’m incredibly grateful for the overwhelming messages of support I have received and the opportunities I’ve been given and have been able to create for under-served girls worldwide.
“That’s wonderful! Best of luck!” Jackie O’Neil, Desk Editor of The Stanford Daily, wished me when I shared my story with her.
“Hi Anya, Read some of your work. It’s truly inspiring. Good luck for your future endeavors!” Avi Chudasama, Design Strategist of Manasi Kirloskar’s Caring with Colour initiative, reached out to me to say.
“Anya, wow, what an incredible story you have! I’d love to share your piece. Your article is fantastic and…I totally encourage you,” Emily Schmidt, Managing Editor of The Stanford Daily, said to me when I shared my work with her.
As an advocate for UN Women and the first Indian teen to launch a UN Women campaign, I am honored to join the ranks of luminaries like Emma Watson and Angelina Jolie, known for both their body of work and their activism, and create a lasting legacy for this generation.
Through championing women’s voices, Asian American representation and global change as among the nation’s youngest to be involved with the UN on a global level, I’ve found my voice and aspire to help every potential leader find their own. I work closely with the United Nations, UN Women, We Movement and the Jane Goodall Foundation to build a better future and empower girls globally.
I‘m fully aware of the difficulties people worldwide face in receiving and pursuing an education — whether financial, social or personal — and the impact this can have on the opportunities available to them. But every girl and every child has a fundamental right to learn and be educated and this is something I seek to champion and protect.
Recently I learnt more about conditions in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia after my work with ShePower in India. Child marriage, slave trade and the dowry system are some of the many obstacles girls and young people face as barriers to education and mobility.
This is precisely why my work is so important to me — to create opportunities for women and girls and promote UN Women’s mission to empower women and eradicate these inequalities.
ShePower, a global organization I founded in partnership with MetoWe, gives these women access to resources and opportunities, and is a voice of change working to empower women and young girls in my community and globally, whether through access to education and sanitary products in impoverished and isolated parts of India or through art and enrichment for young women in need in Plano and Frisco. I work to spark discussions for and about the advocacy of girls and teens, empower them to recognize and take pride in their worth as women, and forge connections and friendships with fellow leaders. We together stand for representation and equality for women, lobbying for important issues and elevating and uplifting ourselves and women everywhere.
I hope that people are motivated to share their stories and fight for the rights they deserve and that those of us with these opportunities develop a global perspective and realize the potential we have to make an indelible impact in communities worldwide through girls’ education.