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‘Apeejay Pitampura inspired in me the spirit to work for society,’ says alumna

Mehakk Bhardwaaj recalls in an interview how one of her teachers in school pushed her to participate in the Student Leaders Convention in Singapore

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Mehakk Bhardwaaj, a Junior Associate at She For Change, an intersectional feminist organisation, traces her interest in social impact initiatives back to her school education. Her love for social science was stimulated by the teachers at her alma mater Apeejay School, Pitampura. Mehakk, 25, who has just stepped into her professional journey, tells us about the initiatives she is involved in for the upliftment of women in the workplace:

What was your journey at Apeejay School, Pitampura like?

My journey was full of ups and downs. I was an average student till class 10, but things changed after class 11. I took up Humanities because I loved social science right from the beginning. From there, my life took a turn where I secured the third position in class 11 and topped the Humanities stream in class 12. When I look back at how I progressed, it feels amazing.

Of course, I have a special place in my heart for my school friends who I am still in touch with. Overall, the school gave me an amazing experience whereby I could go into a good college.

Did the teachers have a role to play in helping you identify your interest in social sciences?

Definitely! Since class 11, my teachers including Praveen ma’am, Harleen ma’am, and others were always very supportive. Praveen ma’am was the one who introduced me to the Singapore Student Leaders Convention. With her constant encouragement, my friends and I finally went to Singapore in class 12, which was a great experience.

What did you pursue after school?

I pursued graduation in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College-Delhi University. Then I completed my master’s degree in Political Science from the same university. Prior to She For Change, I interned with Child Rights and You (CRY).

Tell us about your job role at She For Change.

I am working as a Junior Associate of Progammes and Community at She For Change; I handle their collaborations. My job entails bringing together people in the development sector and building a strong network for women. I handle collaborations with companies in the development sector.

Are there any particular challenges that you face in this kind of work?

One of the challenges in the social impact sector is resource crunch. There are organisations who are willing to partner with us but at the same time, they might be facing issues in funding, among other obstacles. There is a sense of skepticism that is at play.

Is part of your work also about increasing awareness to get more companies on board?

Definitely! We conduct programmes like leadership labs, awareness sessions, and training sessions for women employees of various companies, in an effort to upskill them—we inform them about social media marketing, for instance, or tell them about the importance of having a presence on LinkedIn. In simple terms, our aim is to promote gender sensitivity among all employees of a certain organisation. We talk to companies, identify the gaps, and provide them customised solutions instead of a universal approach. Other than upskilling, we also have forums related to law-and-order policy, mental health, etc.

Are you seeing significant developments?

Organisations associated with us appreciate and encourage our initiative. What we usually see in the development sector is that companies, although doing amazing work, are operating in silos. Our job at She For Change is to bring them together to bridge the gap with the aim to build a positive ecosystem for women. We are like a support system for women in the workplace.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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