Dubai: The UAE’s youngest Olympic torch-bearer has been so inspired by the experience that she has launched a youth foundation.
Simran Vedvyas, 13, was among six people from the region who were selected by Samsung Gulf Electronics to carry the flame for London 2012.
Now, Simran wants to share her passion for transforming the lives of others with her foundation. The ultimate objective is to bring young people together to make positive change, she says.
“It is something I will treasure for a lifetime,” she told Gulf News of her Olympic honour.
“I waited for almost six months, and it was really a surprise for me to get selected from among so many accomplished people.
“There were so many people there in London, accomplished in different fields, that I got to meet. I had never thought I could get such a rare opportunity. After this, I now want to seriously work towards taking up different causes on a larger scale,” says the youngster, who recently returned from the United Kingdom.
Simran holds more than 15 titles as an ambassador and youth spokesperson for several organisations. She is the youth ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Eye on Earth, a campaign of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative and Environment Agency Abu Dhabi supported by UNEP, and ambassador connect for Diabetes — Raise your Hands for Africa and Middle East among other initiatives.
Equally good at academics, she has also received the Shaikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Performance twice, and is an active social campaigner who started the popular ‘Connect for Diabetes-Share Your Shoes’ campaign.
She said of her many projects: “I feel a strong desire to bring positive change, in whatever way I can contribute. If we don’t do it, who else would?”
Simran’s mother, Swati Vedvyas, a businesswoman, partly attributes her daughter’s passion to work for social causes to the encouragement she received from her school.
She said: “When we realised she was pretty sensitive and vocal about issues from a very young age, we started to give her more knowledge and opportunities like visiting the not-so-privileged people. Also, encouragement from the school has contributed a lot to her achievements.”
A pupil of Millennium School, Dubai, Simran says her youth foundation will empower the youth and make them aware about various social projects they can support.
She said: “During my interactions with people, I have understood that the youth want to make positive changes and there is a strong need to make them act. We need to act now — We need to share our knowledge, move forward together and above all, we need to deliver the vision.”