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Finding you - Raiza Goel

For as long as I can recollect, I have always liked to try new things. I have been decent academically, been a part of the student council, played sports, done theatre and drama, been involved in reading, writing, singing, playing music instruments, dancing, and drawing. Despite accomplishing all this by just 13 years, I wasn’t truly pleased. I used to think that your purpose is something you are supposed to discover when you are old.

We are living in a time where gender inequality is still prevalent. Fortunately, enough, I have had the privilege to be raised in a home where the ideals are set very high. My parents have been the biggest source of inspiration for me. I feel extraordinarily proud to be given the same knowledge and skills as any other boy of my age, instead of being indulged into only activities which are meant for girls, my parents got me into sports like fencing, karate, and martial arts. It is often said when you experience something good, you want it more. As I grew, I realized what might seem as something very basic to me is something others around me are generally deprived of. This thought gave me the inspiration to start my own Girl Up Chapter. My Girl Up Chapter is a huge accomplishment for me. At the same time, I thought about digging into the roots and that’s when I started doing research on violence against women in India.

I was almost 14, when the pandemic broke out and that’s when I truly realized how important it was to have purpose. I knew that I had to do something to sustain the environment, the people, and their lives around me. It was as if a spark ignited inside my soul. I feel that our knowledge comes from the people around us. As I started discovering my path, I started to believe that life is beautiful journey with ups and downs and that there is no final destination. With continuous support, I was able to address issues like mental wellbeing and bullying to large audiences through talks. I have been able to expand my reach through wonderful organizations like Young Leaders for Active Citizenship, NCC and UNEP. However, I was still puzzled about how this, amongst all other experiences, satisfied me. This answer came to me rather recently when I saw my parents laying blankets over the homeless. I feel as if it is their unsaid words and the kind actions that have shaped me into the soul I am. I am extremely grateful to have discovered my path. As I grow up, I want to be financially and emotionally independent by continuing through this way of joy and happiness.

To all the people reading this, it’s very important to find you. Who are you, who are the people who affect you and what interests you in life. These are some questions you need to answer yourself. If you feel science brings out the best in you, go run after it, if dance does, go do that as long there’s “YOU” in it. I would also like to remind everyone; your parents are your biggest critics but at the same time your greatest appreciators too. They always bring out the best in you. During my journey, I have lost material things but gained knowledge. I have lost

many friends but gained true insights. I have lost from my own self only to rediscover and emerge stronger. Once I have true success, it would be because of everyone around, those who hated me, those who supported me, those who still like me and those whose paths I still must cross. I aim to be successful in every way for those people, my family and finally myself. 13-year-old Raiza once asked herself, “Who am I?”, 15-year-old Raiza now answers, you are a confident young leader who’s here to change the world.



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