Shiwani Agrawal on winning the BAALA Trainer Fellowship

Shiwani Agrawal, Batch 2017-22 won the BAALA Trainer Fellowship. She is pursuing law from Symbiosis Law School Noida. She has been interviewed by Ananya Gangwar, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from SLS,Noida.

1. Hi! Please tell us something about yourself.
Hey! My name is Shiwani, I am a 3rd year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida. I am from Forbesganj, Bihar. I have been actively involved in climate activism and have been an advocate of mental health and women’s rights from past 2 years.
My interest into each of these developed with the increase of their urgency with time. I am a part of various organisations that work towards development of the same. I also take keen interest in all the co-curricular activities, so I am almost always on my feet. Apart from that, I like to eat, and read, in that particular order.

2. What does this fellowship mean to you?
I feel that one of the many things that empower women is the knowledge that they are in the capacity to empower those women who are in dire need of it. This fellowship made me do that. It made me meet women from different places, and with different thought processes, and helped me exchange ideas and culture with them. I have
always wanted to go to the places that people generally avoid, and have conversations that people generally frown upon. This fellowship made me do both of these things!

3. Who/What was your driving force or motivation behind the entire journey?
I have always believed that it is very necessary for everyone to be able to make an informed choice, and to have the available resources to make that choice. With Project Baala, I did not just get to make the women and little girls aware about sustainable menstrual hygiene; I also was able to give them an opportunity to make a
choice that is environment friendly, without any financial burden. This was the biggest motivating factor for me, because who are we, if we do not use our privilege to do the right thing. That is the same thing that keeps me motivated to work for my social campaign, called Break The Silence, where we make people aware about
tabooed topics.

4. What are the steps to apply for BAALA Trainer Fellowship?
Well, when I applied, there was a call of applications, after which i mailed them my CV, and cover letter, which was followed by some questions on mail, and then a phonetic interview. After that, there were training workshops for a couple of weekends. However, one can go to the official webpage of Project Baala: www.projectbaala.com , or send an email at: info@projectbaala.com . Baala is also launching its official app to recruit more fellows.

5. You often left hostel in the wee hours of the morning. So, tell us how it was travelling across the countryside of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh?
Travelling was definitely tiresome, but it is all worth the warmth with which every school welcomes you, and the huddles that the girls make around you after you talk to them. The countryside of both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are breathtakingly beautiful too, it is a different feeling, to exchange our cultures and receive so much love from them. All of this complimented with the satisfaction of knowing that the people that you have met will be happier and will have a better life ahead, makes everything worth it.

6. Since you pursued this fellowship during the semester, how did you strike the balance between your academics and social commitments?
Oh, it was certainly not easy, 75% seemed like a myth to me. In fact, I had it at the back of my head that I will lose this semester and will most certainly have to retake exams in the next semester. But as it turned out, Baala is very flexible with its dates, and one can choose their availability themselves. Even then, I made sure to miss
almost no classes when I was in campus, because I had a certain number of workshops to be completed within the given semester. I did have to put in a few extra hours of studying. My friends and teachers were very supportive of the entire thing, so they really helped me out with the course.

7. What would be your advice to the students who wish to pursue the same thing?
With the amount of privilege that we have, it is only fair to share some of it with those in need, and if this understanding has already reached you, half the work is done. You  just need to go out there and take your chances with speaking out. There are so many opportunities that will help you reach your desired goal, so just take your chance

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