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Gurgaon’s Very Own Rain Girl
At an age when students feel burdened by their own tasks, it is a rarity to find a teenager working for a larger and common cause. We spoke to Tavishi Singh, founder of the “Endless River” project, an initiative to provide clean drinking water to the homeless, and found out about the challenges that she faced and overcame.
Dec 21, 2018 at 12:20

 

What inspired you to undertake this project?

 

Seeing major nations such as the United States backing out of their commitments towards the environment and to address threats arising out of climate change, I in my limited way was disappointed, and at the same time was concerned about the future of our generation. Ever since, I have been more thoughtful and alert to these challenges, and strived to see if there’s a way in which I can do my bit to help, no matter how small it may be.

This thought got further catalysed during my visits to the Earth Saviours Foundation, which my family has been supporting over the years. We have witnessed Delhi heat only getting worse and it was only a matter of time wherein water would become the next major concern for the Foundation. That’s when I thought I would try and channel my efforts to help in the best way possible.

 

Tell us about the development, the difficulties and the journey of the project.

 

There were multiple challenges that I faced during the course of this project.

The first was to understand the concept of rain water harvesting, and how to do it in an efficient and sustainable manner. Research on the internet offers many options, which end up confusing you more than guiding you. Here, the support and advise of Mr Sekhar Raghavan, the “Rain Man” of Chennai was most helpful to my efforts.

The second clearly was raising funds. The actual cost ended up being significantly higher than the estimates we had got from the internet. This was because we wished to go for a permanent and zero maintenance design, which would cater to the needs of over 500 people residing in the area. I started with door to door campaigns to raise funds, which was a rewarding but painfully slow process. It was here that my sister recommended I try crowdsourcing, and that’s when I came across Ketto. I must say the Ketto team was the most supportive and helped guide me at length through every stage of the process. The end result was my page moving to the “top trending” slot on Ketto in two days, and we crossed the target in three days flat! The response that I received was overwhelming, and covered people from all over the world, from the US to Singapore!

The last and possibly the most complex was the execution of the project, and attempting to install the rainwater harvesting system well before the monsoons hit Gurgaon in full force. Here again, Mr Mani Mishra, a senior Engineer with extensive experience in infrastructure projects took it upon himself to help me and support me in the effort. He was with me at every stage of the process, and ensured we end up achieving all that we had planned for, and that too, as per our timelines.

 

 

What is the next step from here?

 

I am keen to continue my work on this project for the duration of and beyond my school life. This is because, I strongly believe climate change is the biggest threat facing our world today and our indifference to it can be very costly if we don’t act right now. Whether it be turning off the lights when one leaves the room or taking that small step of boycotting single-use plastic, I urge everyone to take the small steps necessary to ensure the good health of this planet.

While, at this stage of my life I do not know if I will set up my own NGO, I certainly hope to be an active part of the multiple charitable organisations, such as Earth Saviours Foundation, and contribute to make an even bigger positive impact on the lives of people around us.

 

As a teenager, what are some of the other interests and hobbies you pursue?

 

A 10th grader at Pathways School, Gurgaon, I enjoy engaging in all activities in school, thereby discovering and further exploring my interests.

I am particularly passionate about swimming. I’m a National Level Swimmer and I am proud to have won multiple medals for my school across competitions. It gives me great satisfaction to work on my weaknesses and then see myself improve and excel at multiple facets of my life. I am also part of the school band as Bass Guitarist. I enjoy creatively expressing myself through music.

In the future, I hope to pursue Engineering and utilise my skills gained in developing innovative technologies to address the concerns raised by climate change. I also hope to actively work towards making this technology more accessible and sustainable to use amongst all walks of life.

 

How do you manage to juggle between the school work, studies, social life and this project?!

 

It indeed is very hard to juggle school work, swimming, and the other activities I take part in. But, time management plays a huge role in managing all these fronts together. I believe it is about fixing specific times to do the work, and finishing it within that time. I also have a lot of support from the circumstances that I am placed in, and individuals around me helped me manage all these fronts at the same time.

 

 

What was the reaction of your parents and peers at the start and finish of the project?

 

The support I have received from my family and friends has been critical for the success of my project. They are extremely proud of this step taken by me, and the manner in which the project has been completed.

 

 

Lastly, do share with our readers, what would be that one piece of advice you wish they would implement in their daily lives.

 

I think youngsters have a particular advantage as they are unflinching in speaking their minds and taking that extra leap to achieve what they believe in. With social media penetrating lives of people daily, it is easy for us to make our voices heard. Thus, no matter how small the step one wants to take, raising our collective voices can help make an impact on our society.

In fact, making those small changes in our lives, whether it be turning off the lights when we leave the room or convincing those around us to stop using plastic straws and one-use plastic can work towards having an unprecedented impact on the future of our generation and those after us.

 
Imagine living in a world devoid of rainfall!

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