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Here”s Why You Need To Watch Out For These Five Exceptionally Talented Kids In The World

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By Sanchita Srivastava:

Now, before you all decide to draw your swords reading the headline, allow me to make some clarifications. This list of ‘exceptionally talented’ kids is by no means complete in itself, because as the tagline of the movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’ goes, every child is special in himself/herself. It is simply a modest attempt on my part to inform you about five children who are talented enough to put their peers to shame:

Ethan Jordan Bortnick

Ethan Jordan Bortnick: First on this list is the boy who began playing a keyboard at the age of three and was composing music by the age of five. This gifted pianist, singer, composer, songwriter, actor and musician created history in 2011 when he performed as the youngest headliner at the Las Vegas Hilton, the same theatre that presented Elvis Presley. Wondering what was his age then? He was simply 10-years-old! But that’s not all. The young musician also has a heart of gold. Whenever he visited his ailing brother in the hospital, he was deeply moved because of the sufferings of the other kids. However, the kid went beyond empathising and sought to help them out financially, which is why he is also hailed as one of the youngest philanthropists in the world as he has raised a whopping $30 million through his performances at charity benefits!

You can know more about his work here

Hamad Al Humaidhan

Hamad Al Humaidhan: Born in 1999 in Kuwait, this child is often addressed as the ‘Young Picasso’. Several connoisseurs of art are of the opinion that his style, bold black lines, the use of vibrant colours and cubist forms bear a striking resemblance to the works of the Spanish genius, Picasso. And to top it all, he is believed to have adopted Picasso’s style even before he had a chance to see the latter’s work! Hamad chooses to paint his world with youthful emotions-his characters- some real, some legendary and others just imaginary, are composed with mastery. Not surprisingly, both his collection were sold out within hours of them being released.

To see as to why he is tagged as the mini version of Picasso, please click here for his latest collection.

Nancy Yi Fan

Nancy Yi Fan: It is only in the last couple of years that several college students in our country have sought to writing and getting their works published. So was the case any different with the 19-year-old Ms Finn, who too got her book published? The answer is a resounding yes! First of all, her work has been published by none other than Harper Collins and that too at the tender age of 13. The children’s book titled ‘Swordbird’ was published in English, her second language in which “selflessness and courage, wickedness and cunning of the characters blended into one message: peace is wonderful; freedom is sacred”. But that is not all. After hitting the shelves, ‘Swordbird’ flew to the top of the New York Times best-seller list! It was then followed up by ‘Sword Quest’ and ‘Sword Mountain’ that hit the bookstores in 2008 and 2012 respectively, which too were widely appreciated.

Lilly Gaskin

Lilly Gaskin: The youngest of the lot, Lilly is a cute little toddler who can barely speak. But she is an expert in geographical locations. That’s right. How many countries can you identify while looking at the world map, especially when you were a little over two years? Well, when Nancy was 26 months old, she had already mastered world geography and could identify more than 100 countries.

Check out her YouTube video here: The Original Video of Lilly: The World Map Master

Kishan Shrikanth

Kishan Shrikanth: For anyone who was scanning the list to see whether an Indian child is listed or not, well your search ends right here. We are talking about the Guinness record-holder for being the youngest director of a professionally made feature length film, the 17-year-old Kishan. The movie that earned him the world record and several international accolades at the age of ten was ‘C/o Footpath (Care of Footpath)’ which revolves around an orphaned boy who wants to go to school. The film was an adaptation of a short story written by himself in which he played the lead. Not only has he acted in several movies and television shows, but has also been featured in the top 15 genius children of the world by none other than Oprah Winfrey.

To say that these young men and women are brilliant would perhaps be an understatement. But then the lesser mortals like us need not despair. Though the prevailing wisdom suggests that such geniuses are simply born that way, the inherent optimist in me believes that one’s hard work can surely give these and many, many others like them, a run for their money.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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