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 Arushi Mittal - National Youth Awardee 

Date of Publish - Saturday, 27th January 2018
igniting_minds

Arushi Mittal was born and brought up in a small town of Rajasthan - Alwar before she moved to Delhi to pursue a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Delhi. Coming from a family with many doctors and an environment where she was always told to have a holistic perspective of the world,she pursued several courses in environment conservation, humanities and rural development which inspired her to join Centre for Science and Environment fresh out of college.

Nirbhaya case shook our nation and it personally shook Arushi as well. While studying and working in Delhi, she had frequented select city walk mall to watch movies and took the same precautions as she had while going out at night. The incident was too close to her home and she had a sinking feeling that this could have been her, or any of her friends which was both scary and infuriating. This prompted her to read as well as dig deeper within herself as to why are things the way they are when it comes to gender violence and sexism. During this enquiry phase, she happened to meet others from her college who were working to create Pukar and she joined the team to make it happen.
                       
Pukar:
“We were a group of 4 people from IIT Delhi who mainly worked on this app. My role was to build police partnerships to launch this mobile phone application in several cities.”
“After we launched Pukar in Alwar, Kota, Nainital and Udaipur, there were several other such apps launched by various govt. and non-govt. agencies. However, none of these apps have been able to solve the crisis of gender violence in public spaces that we face today.”says Arushi.

A major challenge here is our mindset as a society, as individuals, as law enforcers. For eg. imagine if someone is in an emergency situation, firstly, they will have distrust on the police, and secondly, they will be scared about what their family will say if they report. These things hinder reporting of gender violence and cannot be solved by technology alone. Learning from our experience with Pukar, our team now works to train police personnel on being more gender sensitive and with young people to build their capacity to raise such issues in their personal lives and in their communities.

Awards and Achievements:
Awarded the National Youth Award 2015-16 for my work on gender issues by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Selected as one of the two youth ambassadors to Baku conference organized by United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in April 2016 and am also a StartingBloc Fellow since February 2017.
Awarded the Anil Agarwal Scholarship by Center for Science and Environment and my work has been recognized by several institutions at the district level.
She is now looking to build her understanding of child psychology as well as various learning methodologies that can be employed in early childhood settings with the aim to create a program that supports children to be gender sensitive, empathetic and inclusive since their early years. Simultaneously, she plans to keep working with young women to support them in their journeys.

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