Have you ever heard the inspiring story of Mansi Mehta, a 15-year old student, poetess, and a column writer from Surat?
Mansi Mehta is the Founder of an NGO known as ‘ Kishori Foundation”. She is working for Girls’ empowerment through Life skills, Education, Gender Equality and advance her dream of a literate country.
She is the youngest speaker to express her activities on TEDxDumas.
Mansi Mehta has published a collection of poems under the title “I AM ME” dedicated to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai.
She is highly inspired by Malala Yousafzai, Sudha Murthy and Dr. Swaroop Raval for their noble tasks for society.
She has been awarded the Garima Award by Gajera Trust for her work.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Napoleon Hill
Mansi Mehta truly followed the quotes from Mother Teresa and Napoleon Hill. As a small girl, she may not be able to do great things, but she is doing small things in a great way with great love. Click To Tweet
Great change comes in small steps – Mansi Mehta
Being one of the few to join the prestigious league of teenage TEDx speakers in India, Mansi takes inspiration from personalities like Sudha Murthy & Malala Yousafzai and preaches the idea that people need to accept the social disparity between genders, for the society to collectively move forward. She is the youngest speaker to express her activities on TEDxDumas.
This picture that you see is not of some workshop that I visited, but a foundation which I created on my own with these girls.
Here I try to impart my knowledge of day-to-day life to them.
Well, I’m not a preacher, neither a prize-winning author and nor any extraordinary person. ‘I AM ME!’, just like you all are but here at times, I may be way Sharlee or arty or Lakshmi the girls who influenced me.
You remember one thing, today the voice is mine but the story is theirs.
My journey begins with a very unlikely meeting. A few years back I read in my history book about Poornima bin Padmasa. She was a freedom fighter at the age of 18 who taught Kasturba Gandhi how to read and write when they were inmates in prison. Well, a family trip to Saputara, I recalled that the institution was named written by Ritambhara Vishwa Vidyapeeth.
Being a sixth standard old kid has not even knowing what I’m going to talk to her about, but I had the strong desire to meet her.
So me and my parents went to visit the Art Institute which was located in the Saputara area itself where she has been transforming the lives of thousands of girls since 1956.
But with great sadness, the Watchmen wouldn’t let us in. I had this strong desire just to meet her it was not even you know properly knowing what what I’m going to talk to her. But I had a strong desire and so I sat down on the road across the street and stared down at the watchman until he let me in.
And after 30 minutes of staring at him continuously, he let me in. And there she was, about 100 years old very Lin Hampton, but her eyes defied the illusions of the body created, her aura was enchanting.
By talking to her I found out that she is very generous and humble women personality.
It was 7th of September 2013, no it was 7th of October 2013 when she wrote a message in my diary that read “Dear Mancy get well-educated and educate your sisters.”
Overwhelm with happiness it took it as a blessing and when I was about to move she said something very unexpected.
She said “I’m passing it to you this legacy of getting educated and to educate”.
Although I understood what she meant, I was too young to fully comprehend the meaning of it.
Her little did I know was that her words will take a form of Lakshmi and will come back in my life again.
Lakshmi was there sitting near a garden gate watching everything curiously. She was a figure she was just like me even we both used to have the same haircut.
My van used to pass from that garden road every day and I used to see at all because there was something about her something so different, something so similar.
So I wave but she was indifferent to me and after weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks weeks of waving one day she waved back and I went home smiling and then began the friendship with no words were exchanged.
And after some time she disappeared and I was just reckless. After an entire month of passing through that Street not getting a glance of her, I decided to find out on a source.
And so I requested watchman uncle to let me have her whereabouts and he said he she is just insane she got no brain it’s better for you not to waste your time.
And I was just stunned and he also added that she has been married off at an adolescent age to some person who abused her physically.
An adolescent girl of my age in an abusive marriage?
I was simply not knowing what should I do. Her misery made me angry and so I decided to give myself some time.
And while I was just fumbling out with all this stuff something struck me and that was how many of girls are suffering from this, not in the city, in this our world, in our country. Not only abused but also for education like it happened in the case of Malala Yousuf Zai.
Now do tell me one thing, does a girl need to be shot thrice in the head for making the world realize what is actually girls education?
We simply don’t care to ask, we don’t care.
This girl whom I named Lakshmi because I was not knowing her real name became my inspiration to write poems and thereafter my collection of poems got published.
I was just completely in a disabled sorrow because I felt my poems were not enough.
So what should I do? And I really wanted to answer this question. While still figuring out the things something happened, something so ordinary that it would have happened to you even before you came here.
My maid auntie came with her eight-year-old daughter at my home. Her daughter sat on the kitchen table watching everything curiously. So I talked to her and casually I asked her “so what you want to do in your life Vaishali”, to which without even a single thought she replied oh I want to work as a maid in a big bungalow.
This made me sad, ‘no more Lakshmi’s’ I said. So what should I do?
I requested my maid aunty to help me to find out some girls to whom I can teach whatever I have. Because I realized that I wanted these kinds of girls to think big, be positive and understand the value of life through education.
So she helped me out to find four girls from that slum area and with four girls I started my Kishori foundation in my parking lot.
Now looking at her enthusiasm my parents have helped me to develop a proper classroom where I teach them about life
skills health and hygiene, personal creativity, dance, music and whatever else I could think of.
And I am happy that I have got 15 girls now and much more happy that my two younger sisters have joined me in this mission, Shreya who is in Sixth standard and Rudri who is in first grade. They helped me with this.
There is always an opportunity for an individual action sometimes it doesn’t about upon some extraordinary opportunity provided to you, sometimes it’s about your actions to the opportunity provided, sometimes it’s just about stopping your vehicle to remove a stone lying in the middle of the road or picking up a garbage bag and throwing it in the dustbin.
My journey has just started. There are miles to go but only one statement which brought a big smile on my face is a girl who once said me that she wants to work as a maid in bigger bungalow now says she wants to write, wants to speak English like me, wants to be a part of my foundation as a dance teacher.
A thought process and attitude is changed and it can go a long way. It was my biggest reward.
There is always a ripple of effect in an action of individual and infinite power and the ordinary, we just
need to believe in it.
Kishori Foundation Surat
Younger sister Shreya teaching them names of months, in English
Photo Credits Facebook Kishori Foundation Surat
Read the news about Mansi Mehta in Times of India Teenager dedicates her book of poetry to Malala
Recommended for reading:
- How Surabhi Gautam A Village Girl Became An IAS Officer
- Sundar Pichai Google Ceo
- Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO
- Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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