Neha Sinha

Being the change she wishes to see in the world

On her way to classes at the Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi, Neha Sinha stopped at an elementary school to “pester them,” according to the founder of the Children of Gandhi Foundation. Neha was enticing the children to participating in the pilot project she had researched and developed as the project coordinator for ways to introduce Gandhi to children. Then on her return trip, she stopped at the school again to prod them to speed up their decision “in her own polite but eager way.” She provided exactly the sort of salesmanship, energy, enthusiasm, efficiency, and dedication the Foundation was searching for. When the entire exhibition was up for viewing, Neha did more of her relentless polite persuasion to get the children to visit it and post feedback, leading to “a much more effective communication” for presenting the concepts of nonviolence.

Neha had graduated first in her class at the Amity International School and was enrolled as an honor student in journalism and current affairs. She became an ongoing member of the English Debating Society and the Academic Forum, and also participated for several months in the National Social Service (NSS) a government-sponsored student-run social welfare group working on everything from blood donation to reforestation.

Neha went to Warsaw, Poland for two months in an interim program and put in two hundred hours with the MONAR Association, an NGO assisting 30,000 marginalized people. Neha worked in a drug rehabilitation clinic, responsible for scheduling, work opportunities, education, and entertainment—along with conflict resolution. She quickly grew adept at delegating tasks while at the same time calling on all her reserves of extreme patience. “Hearing out all arguments is the only peaceful way to resolve issues,” she says.

In 2008 Neha was selected for additional travel opportunities, first as an exchange scholar in Singapore. Then Civic Concepts International selected her as a delegate to the International Youth Leadership Conference in Prague, Czech Republic. On the way home, she stopped over in Turkey for a few days simply as a tourist.

Her humanitarian approach arose out of her response to many crises: rebel groups in India involved in militant activities that kill thousands of innocent people; caste-based politics and religious fundamentalism that led to the riots in Bombay and Gujarat. Instability in neighboring countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka produces terrorists that constantly threaten society. Neha feels strongly that young people must come forward to change the unsafe world we are living in. Issues like energy scarcity, state-sponsored conflicts, food and water scarcity, poverty, unemployment, and corruption plague all countries, and her local and international experiences have convinced Neha that international cooperation is the only solution.

Specializing in political analysis, advocacy and outreach, she plans to become a public administration officer or international organizer and eventually enter the political system of India. Neha strongly believes Gandhi’s idea that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. Her background along with activities like HSI will not only help her form positive international networks, she also gained feedback on her strengths and weaknesses to help her truly embody that change. After becoming a Hansen Peace Fellow, she’ll travel to Boston where she was selected to participate in a Model UN Simulation held at Harvard. She looks ahead to receiving her master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.