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Ananya Kamboj, The 15-Year-Old “Young Journalist” Is Shepherding Gender Equality

With myriad dreams twinkling in her eyes, 15-year-old Ananya Kamboj from Mohali, Punjab has now been selected into the WLF Ambassador program 2020 by World Literacy Foundation (WLF). She participated for the third time in the International Children's Social Program Football for Friendship, which is run by Gazprom PJSC, the official partner of the UEFA Champions League. The pioneering school girl has gained wide recognition at the project, thanks to her participatory citizenship, journalist professionalism, and diverse range of educatioal activities in India

By Pallabi Ghatak

Ananya Kamboj, The 15-Year-Old “Young Journalist” Is Shepherding Gender Equality

Before getting into the details of her journey, one point that makes her stand out of the crowd and India proud is her SPIRIT! "I wish to take the spirit of hope, togetherness, and inspiration to millions of children across India and South Asia and make this world a better place to live in," stated the teen girl who was the first Indian to be selected at the global Football for Friendship (F4F) social program in 2017. Since then there is no looking back.

Hailing from a middle-class family of Mohali, Punjab, the Class XI student is an author, a goodwill ambassador of BRICS counties and is invited to speak at the United Nations' ECOSOC Youth Forum this September and has participated in various other projects, including Girl Up, Girls with Impact, Learn In India, SDGs For Children and She Mercedes.

For the last three consecutive years, Ananya was selected to represent India as a young journalist at the global Football for Friendship (F4F) program, an international annual children's social program aimed to unite children from different nationalities having different physical abilities.

An ambassador of football, peace and youth empowerment, the young talented girl was invited by International Children's Games (ICG), an International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event to speak on peace, friendship and youth empowerment during the opening ceremony in Ufa, Russia, last year. "I have always believed that it is imperative to pay particular attention to both sport and cultural education of children. That is why Nine Values promoted by the F4F program are so important - they encourage children to develop both on a football field and in life," Ananya notes who studies at Vivek High School in Chandigarh.

In June 2018, she went Moscow where she was again invited as a special guest at the world premiere of her book - My Journey from Mohali to St.Petersburg, an anthology of 21 stories which are based on the fundamental human values that she had learned during F4F program which was a wonderful platform to celebrate friendship through the unifying power of football. "The book presents a holistic picture of the good life, which transcends the prevalent narrow understanding of what constitutes success, fulfillment, and happiness in life. It offers a fresh interpretation of sports through human values which collectively enrich the different dimensions of life," she added.

Ananya, who was awarded the best young journalist award for her effort in spreading the values of the program through this book, further says, "The problem is that the neglect of teaching sports in schools is having a bad impact on students and causing problems in society." Through her involvement in various programs and empowerment initiatives, Ananya has become a vocal advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment.

After having plagued experiences regarding gender disparity in the sports, she has now started to advocate her own program "Sports to Lead" to help girls and women understand their rights and overcome gender inequality. The soon-to-be-launched initiative will use sports as a medium and include workshops and awareness sessions on how to fight discrimination and gender-bias. Ananya says that the program will be funded by her father, who is also her inspiration to write.

"Attaining gender equality is very important to encourage women and to get equal opportunities and rights," voices Ananya.

Ananya's future plan is to do FIFA Master, a sports management course that includes a comprehensive understanding of the social, economic, and legal dimensions of sport and be prepared to assume the paramount challenge of promoting change through sport in India. "My mission is to support youth to create positive change towards a more inclusive, fair, and sustainable community. I am very fortunate because my father Vikram Kamboj has been my motivation to achieve my goals in life," signs off the young girl.

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