At the age of 17, when most teenagers are still just waiting to break free from the protected life of school to the freedom of college life, Siya Tayal is already the founder of two social initiatives.
Siya Tayal was all of 8 years old when she launched her own sustainable business Bee Nifty, under which runs a My Own Bag initiative that provides employment, reduces waste and promotes reuse culture. She even had the privilege to introduce this project at the One Million Youth Leaders Beyond 2030 event at the UN headquarters in Geneva in 2019. Her second initiative is Project I Am Enough, fight against body shaming and eating disorders.
Her central idea behind these initiatives is to give unheard women a voice.
Who is Siya Tayal?
Siya Tayal is a class 12 student at Shri Ram School Aravali in Gurugram. Body shaming and gender inequality are causes that are closest to her heart.
She made it her life’s mission to help those in need, in addition to completing her education. For this, she was also recently feted with a HT Health Shots She Slays Award for being a Young Achiever in Social Welfare.
What is Project I Am Enough?
Project I Am Enough was established in July 2020 by Siya Tayal with the goals of raising awareness of eating disorders, promoting self-love and combating body shaming. It quickly grew into a network of up to 500 people from a variety of backgrounds, including artistes, singers, and dancers who express their feelings for their bodies through creative means. The project, which is open to all genders, attempts to normalize all body types.
Siya Tayal. Image courtesy: Siya Tayal | Instagram
Siya was herself subjected to body shaming as a child and felt devalued. When she shared her experience with her friends, she realised that everyone had gone through and had similar experiences. This is when she realized that something needed to be done about it because it is a widespread problem.
In July 2020, Project I Am Enough got underway. Siya Tayal says that over 10,000 volunteers have been involved in this.
Other social projects supported by Siya Tayal include:
1. My Own Bag
Siya Tayal says that this project involves getting in touch with textile businesses and get fabric ordered from them. The recycled cloth is then sewn into bags, which are then sold.
2. Santa’s Cause
This project has been ongoing for almost seven years. This project’s goal is to gather supplies for the slum’s young residents. Under this project, they work to collect stationery, clothes, and toys for children.
Siya Tayal is distributing necessary things to kids. Image courtesy: Siya Tayal | Instagram
Social work is a challenging job. How do you keep yourself motivated?
Siya Tayal says the inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. “Actually, people begin to underestimate you when you are young and move towards doing something new. They don’t really value your work. They don’t comprehend what you’re doing or why. As a result, you start having trouble obtaining the resources you need to complete your work. You confront difficulties in managing events and sponsorships. The upside of this journey is that you will discover a lot of new things and your time and efforts will pay you,” says the optimistic girl.
How can youth contribute to social work?
The young girl believes people of all age groups are thinking about the upliftment of society. “If there is a youngster who has asthma attacks during Diwali, the thought may arise in his or her mind about making posters or awareness efforts around it. If someone likes footwear, they may think how they can sponsor footwear for the underprivileged. Everyone will be able to contribute to social work with ease if they consider their areas of passion,” she asserts.
Can social media activism really bring any change?
Siya Tayal believes social media activism is different from armchair activism. In her opinion, social media has made significant progress in bridging the language and age gaps. A large number of people can unite on any one issue on this platform. However, it also has a negative aspect in addition to the positive. In addition to this, the government’s support is also crucial for bringing about any change in society.
Life lessons from Siya Tayal
She says her journey has taught her that there is no specific age or gender requirement for any work. When you start doing any work, just that time is called the right time to do that work! “Those around us should encourage us. Everyone should learn from their lives and from each other how they overcame obstacles in order to move forward in life. In addition to this, it is important to support others so they can advance. Steps must be taken toward empowering others,” she concludes.
The post Meet Siya Tayal, a 17-year-old social changemaker who wants a gender equal world free of body shaming appeared first on Healthshots.