Education is just one part of our learning. Character building, especially empathy, does not come from learning, it comes from experience. The experience of working with those who need your patience, understanding and kindness, without expecting anything from them in return, takes you a long way in a career and in life !

We are happy to present Chandani Grover, Young Changemaker, who works towards the welfare of stray animals, with the aim to spread empathy for strays among people

Chandani, tell us about your background?

I’m Chandani Grover, a 15 year old from Bhopal. My father is a businessman and my mother is a homemaker. I’ve recently written my IGCSE exams from The Sanskaar Valley School. I’ve been interested in mathematics, leadership, entrepreneurship and animals. My love for animals led me to work towards the welfare of stray animals under my organization Kindness: the Universal Language of Love, where my team and I aim to spread empathy for strays among people. I also enjoy coding, and am currently developing a web page for my organization. Moreover, I thoroughly enjoy solving mathematical problems and discovering the inextricable link of art and logic in the field of mathematics. 

Why did you choose to work on a social initiative?

There are two initiatives that I am currently working on: 

Kindness: The universal language of love, which is an endeavor conceptualized and initiated for rescuing and rehabilitating animals and spreading empathy towards them in society. My work for animals has gotten me the Good Samaritan Award at my school and has been recognized by Ashoka under their Ashoka Young Changemaker program. 

Covid19 Crisis Management under which I have tied up with Industries at Mandideep to provide ration, masks and sanitizers to laborers. Moreover, I along with the company I represent (Hawkeye), have tied up with Duracell, India to provide free cells for thermal guns and few medical equipment to various hospitals, Health department of Madhya Pradesh and police stations.

How did you feel when you just started off working on your initiative? Did you face any resistance from society/ parents/ friends/ family/ teachers ?

I’ve been working for animals for the past 8 years. Though initially, my asthma encumbered the work I could do, as I got older, my health condition improved and my parents also supported my efforts. We started by feeding, vaccinating and taking care of the strays in my colony. But after witnessing a tragic loss of a stray pup I formed a Rescue and Rehabilitation center for strays, and started working on the project. I was lucky enough to get good support from my friends and family as well as many animal lovers. 

What are the challenges? How do you address them?

Challenge 1: Changing the mindset of people and creating empathy towards animals. I addressed these by doing various street drives and getting communities involved in them. 

Challenge 2: Raising funds was a challenge despite the fact that the seed money was provided by my father. However, as people witnessed my work, many animal lovers came forward to donate.

Tell us more about your work – 

The problems that I address are:

1.Lack of empathy 

2.Spread of rabies

3.Population control of strays through sterilization 

4.Starvation and malnutrition of strays 

5.Keeping strays disease free 

Besides empathy, one simply needs to be aware of animal situations around us, for which I have a page on which people can message and connect with me regarding volunteering. 

A typical day starts at 6 in the morning when I start feeding the strays in my colony and around after which I usually update the page and act if something is needed. Eg: In the Industrial areas we formed a chain to feed strays there.

What I love the most is the fact that I can feed over 150 dogs on a normal day by developing chains of volunteers in various areas of Bhopal as well as other cities all over India. 

My work for animals has gotten me the Good Samaritan Award at my school and has been recognized by Ashoka under their Ashoka Young Changemaker program. Moreover, I was featured in Dainik Bhaskar, Patrika, The Optimist Citizen, The Better India, Your Story etc

How does your work benefit society? 

My work benefits both people and strays as sterilization and vaccination makes strays calmer and disease free while controlling their rampant population. Moreover, feeding them regularly leads to fewer dog fights and dog bites. This in turn reduces the fear and stigma people hold for strays. 

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

While there are numerous incidents that I hold close to my heart, rescuing a 20 day old stray pup is probably closest to my soul. Cookie, the miracle pup was rescued from a busy road at night when my driver informed me about him. My mother and I had immediately rushed to rescue him, and after seeing him, we fell so in love, that we adopted him ourselves. For him I’ve stayed up for many nights and managed school work too. Hence, all the experiences I’ve had with him are worth the efforts.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

Carpe Diem: your past doesn’t matter; the future is not what you should worry about. All that matters is that you should seize the day, do something meaningful, something which makes you happy, create, invent, lead, work, simply seize the day and everyday which comes.

Future Plans?

I plan to finish building and launch my website, after which I will be working on an app for Kindness.

I love math and I want to pursue higher education in Mathematics and Computer Science.