Anjali Chandrashekar is on top of the world. Last week, the 17-year-old commerce student of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School, Nungambakkam, returned after meeting some of the world's top leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. She was among the five youth selected to participate in the event from 1,500 applicants, as part of the British Council Global Changemaker programme. Anjali was the only one shortlisted to represent Asia and the youngest in the group. “The WEF was an experience hard to explain,” she tells Liffy Thomas.
Shaking hands with Bill Clinton twice, a meeting with the managing director of World Bank, moderating a discussion over a meal, blogging for Washington Post at the end of every day and listening to powerful speakers, Anjali knows memories of Davos will stay with her for some time even as she is settling down to prepare for her 12th board examination.
It was Anjali's childhood love for art that is taking her places. Inspired by her grandmother Shanta Lakshmi, who runs a trust for children with multiple disabilities, Anjali started to raise funds and create awareness through her paintings. “I see art as a universal language and I took to ‘art as an activism' from the age of 10,” she says.
Some of her fund-raising initiatives include raising $ 5,000 through the sale of art works, the proceeds of which went for buying insulin to over 1,000 children in 17 developing countries. For Tanker Foundation, the proceeds went for dialysis of poor patients.
Her mother Anuradha Chandrashekar says, “The quantum of her work was phenomenal. Whether it was in humanitarian, health and environment, all served some cause.” Her father B.V. Chandrashekar is with Southern Railways.
Once her Board examinations get over, Anjali promises to take ‘Ideas Lab' project forward about which she spoke at Davos. “My project is called ‘Picture It', which would give youngsters an opportunity to post their photographs online and spread a message. Like citizen journalism, it is photo journalism,” she explains.
In May, she would attend a conference on sustainability in Germany as part of the United Nations Environment Programme. The visual artist hopes to complete a long innings as she plans to pursue a course in art and design next.