In Priyanka Saini’s hometown Shahbad Muhammed Pur, on the outskirts of New Delhi, the society is quite conservative and traditional. Not many women are given the opportunity to venture out for careers or even higher education. Priyanka grew up wanting much more for herself and the people of her village.
Priyanka is a pioneer, the first young woman of the expected fifty youth to take part in an intensive six-month skills training. The focus is on mastering creative tools in preparation for becoming employed. Longtime AYV partner American India Foundation leads the program, and this interview with Priyanka is our second in a series of stories celebrating students in India who are pursuing creative careers.
“Never let society dictate what you should or shouldn’t do. But, don’t go against your family either. Prove your worth to them and they will support you.”
Learning media has empowered Priyanka Saini to do social work. One of the few to experience Adobe Youth Voices as both an educator and a student, she currently juggles multiple roles at the local NGO Read India. There she supports a group of 15 children in making animations and documentaries geared towards social change, not only in their village but also beyond its walls.
Mother Teresa has been a source of inspiration for Priyanka since she read the nun’s biography in school. Technology is Priyanka’s chosen path to helping others. The pilot program on mastering creative tools opened her mind to a great many opportunities, and inspired her to pursue a career in a media company.
Priyanka says that making media gives her a chance to talk about what is truly important. In an environment where illiteracy is rampant, a 10-minute documentary can truly be a catalyst of change. With the proliferation of mobile phones and tablets even in the village, media is more powerful than ever before. Social change is truly in the palm of their hands, you just have to share the right message.
Ever since she was a child she questioned societal norms. For instance, the elders in her village do not favor co-educational schools because the intermingling of boys and girls is taboo. Priyanka seeks to break down this barrier, “to explain to the parents that a lot of the problems that we face can be nipped in the bud if only we raise our children in an integrated society.”
Priyanka firmly believes that dreams are worth fighting for. She wants to work for a professional media company, and she encourages the young people in her classroom and her village to explore their own passions and talents. For her it’s a matter of social justice.
POST DATE: November 11, 2015
AUTHOR: Wendy Rivenburgh