Home Youth Garvita Gulhati – Finalist of Wai Wai Glocal Teen Hero India 2019

Garvita Gulhati – Finalist of Wai Wai Glocal Teen Hero India 2019

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Garvita, a 3rd year engineering student, is exceptional and infectious in her approach to come out with ideas to solve societal problems. In India, in the year 2015, several cities faced severe drought crisis leading to adverse effects, especially on the lower class of the society. Garvita was in Class X, barely 15, when she started reading on these issues. Deeply impacted she wanted to take action but didn’t know where to start. In this process, she came across this alarming piece of information: on an average, 14 million litres of water are wasted everyday, just through the water we leave behind in glasses in restaurants. A little research threw up more startling facts. She realized how trivially we waste water in so many different ways just because we are privileged and have it at our disposal. Interacting with people who barely get enough water to drink everyday and moreover, are struggling, walking miles, fighting systems to obtain this resource that we so easily consume without even moving a finger, Garvita was triggered to make a difference.

Garvita started visiting restaurants and educating them on how to conserve water with the aim of deleting the 14 million litres number out of the books. She did this through her initiative “Why Waste?”. Unfortunately the process of getting managers to take advice from a 15 year old, and change norms proved to be difficult. Soon, Garvita came up with an idea that was simple and made a lot of sense; a small beginning of sorts to a larger purpose. She proposed a simple solution to solve the global water crisis, and how every person can make a difference taking the glass half-full idea not only to restaurants but to every bit of their lives, looking at water more positively – seeing the glass half full. 

Every single day as she grew as a change-maker, she began empathizing more with problems around her and even though had the passion and zeal to solve all of them, she knew she didn’t have the capacity to do it alone. This made her wonder if every young person was a change-maker, what was stopping this world from turning into a more positive place! 

Inspired by Ashoka’s “Everyone a Change-maker” concept, Garvita launched Lead Young at Schools, an initiative aimed at empowering young school students to take up problems that they are passionate about, and make the difference that they want to see in the world by telling them stories of other young people from around the world who have overcome adversities and broken stereotypes to do their bit to change the world. It highlights the fact that it doesn’t matter where you come from, who you are, how old you are and what you do. If you have a solution to a problem, you have to implant it NOW. This initiative has reached over 600 schools across the country and impacted over 2.5 million students. She has made this possible through collaborations with national media houses and school and student associations. 

Today, Why Waste? operates as an international organisation changing mindsets, optimizing usage and preventing wastage of water. They’ve expanded their work to water positivity across domains, from educating involving and changing structural behaviour around water with citizens ranging from school students to office goers to grandparents. 

Other than founding “Why Waste?”, which has a simple yet effective solution to address water scarcity globally she also launched a country wide initiative “Lead Young” to inspire thousands of students to be change-makers. Garvita is a force to reckon with, at her age having recently convinced an extremely influential organisation and bagged a national collaboration sparking a global phenomenon in building the #GlassHalfFull movement worldwide. 

Why Waste? which provides simple solutions to Global Water issues has grown from a one person org out of a bedroom to over 10 cities now globally inspiring every single person around them to optimize the usage and prevent wastage of water. Why Waste? Has engaged over 200+ volunteers till today directly and several other people indirectly who have been inspired to join in this movement. But more than anything, Why Waste? is one of the first Youth Led initiatives in India that has bagged a collaboration with the national association to build their movement across the country in one shot! 

Her work and initiative has reached over 100’s of thousands of people across India, including rural India. Why Waste? has allied with over 1000 restaurants, influenced the mindsets of over 100,000 people and has saved over 10,00,000 litres of water through its chapters globally. 

Beyond this, Why Waste? has won over $2000 in grants to build their work. They work on a self sustainable model so as to minimize resource consumption. Garvita’s most recent collaboration with the National Restaurants Association of India, an industry that represents 1,00,000 restaurants of the country has turned this initiative PAN India. Most recently, BBC World Service called Garvita as the “Greta Thunberg” of India, a force to reckon with. 

Garvita was a captain at school and the first to win all cups which took the handwork, grit and enthusiasm of everyone from the team of 600 students she led. Today through her work, Garvita is inspiring thousands of young people to be the change that the wish to see. Earlier this year, Garvita was awarded “Young Achiever of India” by YourStory Media, India’s largest online media platform, which is only testimony to the fact that she is truly an inspirational leader. She has gone beyond just her work with Why Waste? to start an initiative called “Lead Young at Schools” to spark an “Everyone a change-maker” movement because she wants to see every young person makes a difference and shine! This initiative has already reached a PAN India level inspiring 1000’s of students to start their own initiatives to build the change they want to see.

In the future she hopes to leverage my knowledge and capacity to do whatever she can to help the world become a better place. Furthermore, she hopes to fully utilize the opportunities that she gets, and be able to influence change more easily.

-Shreyasa Dhakal