Priyanka K. Naithani – United States

Youth Ambassador/Program and Curriculum Developer

 Hello, I’m Priyanka K. Naithani, a freshman at Clark University, in Massachusetts. I am a Chime In Youth Ambassador and Program and Curriculum Developer, representing India and Ecuador. My personality and passions are built upon my early childhood experiences. I am a fanesca of two vibrant cultures, Ecuador and India. I was born in Ecuador and have been raised single handedly by my extraordinary mother. She has tirelessly sacrificed herself in raising my brother and me. At an early age I knew I had to embrace adversities as blessings in disguise. I strive for equanimity and equality in all aspects of my life. In every moment, each person has become precious to me as I build my relationships in this world. At an early age, I learned the importance of girl power and took hardships as valuable lessons and stepping stones for aiming high and dreaming big. As my family moved across the globe in my early childhood, exposure to different cultures instilled in me deep compassion and connectivity to humanity and desire to serve the under served population.

My first active step towards activism and advocacy began in 8th grade. As president of the Community Service Club, I partnered with Opadebac Bas of Cange, Haiti, supported by Partners in Health to address the public health crisis of malaria. We raised $1,500 for mosquito nets for the Haitians. I spent three weeks in Cange, familiarizing myself with the locals’ health needs. In 2015, I partnered with another community service club to raise money for installment of bio-sand filters in Cange. After traveling to Haiti, I clearly saw how our lives are deeply impacted by local government and international policies and economies. I became profoundly aware of how basic human rights are being neglected and how malnutrition, a lack of clean water, and poor sanitation remain a global public health epidemic.

As a multiethnic youth, I have faced immense challenges as a minority in my town. Living in a predominantly white community and given my mixed ethnic culture, I long for tolerance and acceptance. Students of diversity feel a constant judgment and isolation from their peers due to misconceptions about their academic or social ability. In response to this issue, I took the bold initiative to start the Gender Equality and Awareness Club at my school, to shatter the misrepresentations of gender and race. The club addresses local and global gender equality issues, and creates an atmosphere for discussion and comradery.

Being a Youth Ambassador provides me with an immense platform to become a powerful agent of global change. I plan to apply (and am currently applying) all the skills I acquire in serving the underserved in the developing world. As a Youth Ambassador, I immerse myself in new challenges while positively impacting the lives of others through my work and embrace this valuable opportunity to further my learning experience in public health.

“Through the World Food Prize Foundation, Priyanka will be traveling to Taiwan at the end of June to do scientific research for sustainable solutions to combat food insecurity. She will be staying at the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) in Tainan, Taiwan for 2 months. While Priyanka is there, she will be blogging and vlogging on the Chime In website and YouTube page to keep us updated on her journey into another culture and country.”

Additionally, Priyanka traveled with Chime In twice to Guatemala in 2015 and 2016 to build homes with NGO Techo. She showed exceptional leadership and community building skills, and plans to continue with volunteerism.

In May of 2017, Priyanka traveled to LA, California as a representative for Rhode Island at the International Science and Engineering Fair where she presented her scientific research about effects of antibiotic on infants.

Recently, Priyanka received a full ride academic scholarship to Clark University, where she will be majoring in International Development and Social Change and minoring in Social Entrepreneurial.

Priyanka has given many presentations on the subject of global health and education. Here is her presentation from April 30th, 2016 at the Temple Habonim in Barrington, Rhode Island.

 

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