New York, Dec 3, 2020: Indian-American teenager Gitanjali Rao has been named as the first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ by TIME magazine for her “astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying”.
Mumbai origin Gitanjali was selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees. She is an inventor, author, and a STEM promoter. She has also previously featured in Forbes magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ list for her innovations.
“The world belongs to those who shape it. And however uncertain that world may feel at a given moment, the reassuring reality seems to be that each new generation produces more of what these kids have already achieved: positive impact, in all sizes, Time said.
Gitanjali was interviewed by actor and activist Angelina Jolie for the TIME special.
Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate, she said about her process during a virtual talk with Jolie from her home in Colorado.
She spoke about her astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying, and about her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems the world over.
Even over video chat, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shone through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you, Time said.
If I can do it, she said in the interview, anybody can do it.
Rao said her generation is facing many problems that they have never seen before.
But then at the same time, we’re facing old problems that still exist. Like, we’re sitting here in the middle of a new global pandemic, and we’re also like still facing human-rights issues. There are problems that we did not create but that we now have to solve, like climate change and cyberbullying with the introduction of technology, she said.
I think more than anything right now, we just need to find that one thing we’re passionate about and solve it. Even if it’s something as small as, I want to find an easy way to pick up litter. Everything makes a difference. Don’t feel pressured to come up with something big, she said.