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Good Sports: YOUNG CHANGE-MAKER

Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
November 2016
Good Sports: YOUNG CHANGE-MAKER

Pooja Nagpal is only 18, but has already made a difference in the lives of hundreds of girls and women in India. A second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, the UC Berkeley student has traveled to India to train disadvantaged students in self-defense, empowering them to handle the harassment and intimidation they face as they travel to and from school.

“When anyone has to live their life in fear, whether a girl or guy,” she told the Daily Breeze in New York, “it’s an impediment to education and empowerment.”

Nagpal, who developed a self-defense and empowerment curriculum for schools in India, was recently among 15 teens selected for the 2016 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America.

Nagpal is also working on a women’s safety app for college students that sets off an alarm when shaken and sends a GPS location to police and emergency contacts.

“I see an opportunity for change and an obligation to serve as the change-maker,” she said.


Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]



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