Safecity is celebrating the journey of people who have emerged as leaders as our campaigns progressed in their communities through our blog series “Safecity Emerging Leaders”. Read the inspiring stories of these individuals who are passionate about making their neighbourhoods safer with Safecity and have taken action in their own special ways.
Kajal Makwana is a 23 year old, from Maniben Nanavati Women’s College. Currently pursuing her Masters in Counselling Psychology, she strongly believes that mental well-being must be the prime concern of each individual. She is always keen to lend a listening ear to people who are unheard.
Emerging Leaders- Kajal Makwana
I am a 23 year-old girl and I’ve recently completed my Masters in Counselling Psychology. When I reflect on my past I realize I’m a very resilient person. This journey of resilience began when I lost my father who was very close to me. I found it really difficult to come to terms with the death of my father. However, the most difficult part was the change in the attitude of my relatives all of a sudden. I was in 7th grade. I was hurt, sad and confused. In a few months I realized I had to change. Now, my family consisted of only three members- my mother- the strongest person ever, my younger brother and me. After my father’s death, my mother began working as a house help and she never failed to fulfil our wishes. I realised I needed to step up and share responsibility. I began to turn into a more mature and hard-working person.
I began working and saving money to help my mother with household finances in whichever ways I could. As a 17 year-old I started working in a corporate office. The company was happy with my work as a I worked really hard. After working a part-time job for almost two years, I bought myself a scooter. To me, it was the cheapest way to travel around the city. During college, I continued working different jobs like a front office manager, a tutor, I promoted brands, I did some journal writing and more. I realised I could multi-task and don many hats and was eager to experiment and try out different fields.
Exactly a year ago when I was pursuing my Masters in Counselling Psychology, I began to look up different NGOs because I wanted to volunteer and contribute to society with the skills, ability and knowledge that I had. It was during this time that I came across Safecity. Though I was working and studying, I decided to volunteer for the Urban Thinkers Campus- a 2 day event. Though it wasn’t directly linked to psychology or anything that I was studying, I found the topic interesting and important. It was about “Creating a Resilient and Inclusive City”. It was great volunteering at the event, attending the interesting panel discussions and learn how I could be a more responsible citizen. It was at this event that I met the entire Safecity team. It was here that I realised Safecity provides youth with a platform to use their abilities for a cause and to be responsible individuals.
Passionate to be a part of Safecity, I volunteered whenever I could. Some of the events I was able to be a part of were:
- Urban Thinking Campus
- Youth Innovation Challenge – Session 1 at Karjat
- Presented reports of a survey conducted by Safecity in collaboration with SNEHA’s City Level Youth Symposium.
- Participated in the Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk in Mumbai in March 2019 where I had the opportunity to meet my life mentor Ms. Anupama Kapoor who is a very supportive person.
- I volunteered with few of my friends at the “Swedish Dad Indian Dads” photo exhibition at KalaGhoda, Mumbai.
- Interning in the Social Media and Communications teams.
- Heading the Railway Audit Project
Volunteering in all these activities has helped me grow. I previously used to struggle with low confidence, inability to say No to people and being sensitive to criticism. I found it difficult to communicate my thoughts to people due to which I often missed out on opportunities. Volunteering at Safecity helped boost my confidence, it helped me gain leadership qualities and I’ve grown more determined than ever to make a change. One of the things I admire most about Safecity is the platform it provides people to speak, showcase their abilities and be recognised. I’ve learned not to be afraid about being accepted by people, to give my best because it isn’t necessary for everyone person to like me. I’ve learned that it is important to value and respect every individual. I’ve learned that it is important to be confident and not be afraid of breaking the glass ceiling. I’ve learned the importance of committing to something and give my best and know when to step back from a commitment.
I have been able to implement my learnings from Safecity in my personal and professional life as well. I aim to continue working in the field of mental health along with Safecity. The team has always been encouraging, acknowledging and supportive of me and takes into consideration our time constraints as students. Safecity plays a big role in my life and I look forward to continuing my relationship with Safecity.