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Teen changemaker: 16-year-old aims at fixing diverse problems with tech solutions in rural India


Express News Service

He is just 16, but has already founded two ventures: JunkGuards and Rural Invest, and is an active member of a third initiative, Pravakriti. Meet Satyam Mehta, a Class 11 student of Noida’s Amity International School who wants to rid all the problems that ail our society, especially in rural India. 

JunkGuards, which Mehta founded in 2018, aims to ensure adherence to proper waste management practices, and connects all the stakeholders in the e-waste ecosystem:  the producers, the users and the e-recyclers.

“I launched it after I did a programme with The TiE Young Entrepreneur (TYE), where students learn about entrepreneurship, ideation and business basics. JunkGuards collaborates with RWAs, installs e-waste bins in localities encouraging people to dispose of their e-waste. “So far, we have collected 700kgs of e-waste in these bins, which was then given away for scientific disposal.” Rural Invest, incepted last year, aims to inculcate financial literacy among people in rural areas.

“It is a bootstrapped start-up, which I founded with three others Naman Tekriwal, Raghav Sharma and Madhav Sharma. We have developed a mobile application (Rural Invest, available on both Android and iOS) for people residing in rural areas to invest in mutual funds through SIPs,” says Mehta, adding that there is a huge urban-rural divide in the country, especially when it comes to finance. “Technology has the power to change the world while financial literacy empowers people,” he remarks. 

Mehta is appreciative of various telecom companies that have managed to even reach remote villages, and feels it is the internet that aids in spreading financial literacy. To educate young children, Mehta now plans to visit schools and colleges in villages.

“Children can be a good medium through which adults can learn,” he says. Talking about Pravakriti, Mehta says this initiative is for promoting better menstrual health and period positivity, not just among females but males as well. “We also hold awareness drives on the importance of sanitary napkins in various underprivileged schools,” he says. 

When asked how he manages time for all these projects along with his studies, he is quick to point that it was the lockdown period that gave him enough time to research, build solutions and streamline approach. “The Covid-19 period was indeed a boon for me. I got the gift of time where I could balance studies with my entrepreneurial ventures,” he says, adding that he wishes to continue working in the same direction.

“As I secure more educational qualifications, I will take up other issues that rig our society as well,” he says. So, is it all work and studies for him? “No, no. In my free time, you will find me either playing chess or tennis. I am truly inspired by Magnus Carlson and Parimarjan Negi, who became grandmasters at a young age. Apart from these, I love listening to music, and reading books related to science and technology. A brief history of time is my favourite book,” he says in a single breath.



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