“Happiness is not just what brings smile on your face, rather it is what contents your soul. It is harmony, inner peace and tranquility. The best way to experience it is to ‘make someone else smile’.”
PhD in Epidemiology from University of Nebraska Medical Center, part of UNESCO 8th Annual International Leadership Training Programme, founding member of Healing Heart Homes Project, Member of ‘Do juSTIce’ in Nebraska, with over a dozen research papers to her name (individually and in collaboration with some of the best known scientists across the world), mentoring many international public health projects, Health scientist, founder of Chandigarh-based NavSankalp (which needs no introduction for any tricity resident atleast!), winner of recent 94.3 FM Jio Dil Se Award (Public Service)... and SHE’S JUST 29!!!
THAT’S HARPRIYA KAUR, our very own Chandigarh kudi who is putting in her heart and soul ‘to make this world a better place live in’ and literally she is.
When I met her in person, she looked just a girl-next-door and a thought ran into my head ‘Why is this girl smiling and coming towards me? I don’t know her!’. But, when she introduced herself, I literally had to fight for words to respond …these huge accomplishments that too by this ‘little’ girl!
Then she started sharing her story and I had a delightful cocktail of emotions in my heart.
At the age of just 13, she had a moving experience that defined her life’s path. ‘One day, after school was over I was pulling out my bicycle and heard a ‘thud’ sound and rushed outside to a little kid just 5 or 6 years of age, lying in a pool of blood. He had fallen from the wall and hit his head on the rock. Everybody gathered around him, but nobody cared to help that little kid. I took him in arms and rushed inside the school and with my teachers help provided him first-aid and took him to the hospital. That day, I realised if children from such well-off families can be at the receiving end such apathetic attitude, what about those poor children.‘
“We have made money so important, just because of this people die when they still could live.”
If this was not enough to move me in tears and applaud her, what she said next made me speechless. “We have made money so important, just because of this people die when they still could live.” This is the mission of NavSankalp, her non-profit organisation, that had a humble beginning in the DAV-10 college premises 11 years back. NavSankalp provides help to critically ill children. Through its mega charity event ‘Sparkles‘, NavSankalp raises money and provides financial aid to critically ill children. From Rs. 60,000 in the first year to over Rs. 10 lakhs now, NavSankalp has raised to a stature where it has become a reliable registered organisation for the people of tricity to come forward and donate. Over the years, NavSankalp has donated approximately 50 lakhs and saved 128 children. This has been possible due to DAV-10 students and teachers, who have kept it nurturing with their equal passion and love for the humanity as its founder, Harpriya herself.
The two-fold aim of NavSankalp is to help critically ill children and give platform to every child to showcase her/his talent.
Harpriya is equally concerned about our education system which instead of recognising and polishing the latent talents gives more preference to academic scores. At ‘Sparkles’, ‘we give platform to every student to showcase his/her talent and no marksheet is required to qualify for it.‘
Over the years, NavSankalp has donated approximately 50 lakhs and saved 128 children.
Her story is not just inspiring in her achievements, but also how she overcome the challenges she had in her journey.
Being born in a Punjabi family, her life was no different than any girl in the region. If not her family, the people around him made sure to do their bit in ‘inculcating values of being a good girl’. Even to this day, she is subjected to same stereotypical question ‘so, when are you getting married?‘ But, her conviction had made her family and relatives realise what her priorities are. She is meant to do much higher things. It’s like her calling is in the spreading smiles across the world.
“We say children are god’s gifts. Then why we ask for more when so many of these adorable gifts are untaken around the world.”
She has her thoughts so honestly pure even at this young age that can put an older person in his 60’s or 70’s to shame. About adoption she said,”We say children are god’s gifts. Then why we ask for more when so many of these adorable gifts are untaken around the world.” She has even convinced many of her friends to adopt a child when they couldn’t have their own.
“The sad part is all the stereotypes against women have become a norm and accepted as a way of life.”
Chandigarh might look ultra-modern on its superfluous level, but we girls know the general conservative mindset of the society here for women “and the sad part is all the stereotypes against women have become a norm and accepted as a way of life.” Even the girls and women do not realise how they have been conditioned to grow within a pre-decided frame that their families and societies have decided for them. On this Harpriya has an inspiring message for every girl, “Don’t let anyone decide what you can and cannot do. Live your life on your terms. Believe in yourselves. Do listen to your elders, but have a head to decide to what do you want at the end of the day.”
I was talking to her three hours at stretch. I had moisty eyes and smile on my face… The way Harpriya made other’s happiness her own happiness made me believe that if dark clouds of sickness, poverty, destitution and what not are around, there are pious souls like her who are our SILVER LINING!
ChandigarhX wishes Dr. Harpriya Kaur even greater power, strength and conviction in her benevolent mission to comfort every suffering person. Proud to have her as a Face of ChandigarhX International Women’s Day Celebrations ‘Celebrating Womanhood’!