Humans of Dubai

DREAMING BIG: Rachna Shree, 16, is an accomplished student. She hopes to get a degree in BA at university, and later pursue her dream of launching charity NGOs to help the underprivileged.

An Indian high school student in Dubai, plans to start NGOs to help others in the future

By Maria Hussain

It’s a warm summer evening, and a vibrant, cheerful girl sits on her favorite spot at her residence.

Dressed in a maroon top and jeans, she elegantly uses her fingers to comb through her hair as we sit together and sip on some tea.

Originally from North India, 16-year old Rachna Shree is preparing for her grade 12 board exams.

Shree is one of the tens of millions of students across the globe who has future dreams of not only getting a higher degree, but also leaving her mark in this world.

Unlike many other students who dread waking up early in the morning for school, Shree on the other hand says she looks forward to her next day at school, especially getting to see her friends.

“Meeting your friends is the best part about going to school,” she says.

At school, Shree has chosen commerce and her core subjects include accounting, business studies and marketing.

Though the ambitious and highly opinionated student is determined to pursue business administration after completing high school, she also plans to give back to society through her education and activism, thus breaking the stereotype of graduates in her country.

“There are plenty of doctors and engineers in India. I just want to build a few NGOs that can help people who aren’t as privileged and fortunate as we are.

Charity and donation is something I feel very concerned about as well. India has a high poverty rate and that is where I believe we youngsters can make a great difference,” she tells Newsweek Middle East.

“This world should be a place where there is no discrimination based on gender, caste, religion or race,” she says.

“For me, humanity is always a priority and social media plays a very imperative role today if used in the right manner,” Shree adds.

And perhaps some incidents in the past have helped strengthen Shree’s sense of social responsibility.

“I recall seeing a man back home begging for money on the road but in his free time, he read an English newspaper. This shows that low employment opportunities constitute an issue.” Education, according to her, is a treasure that gives you an authority to discriminate between the good and the bad. “It builds an individual’s character,” she says.

Shree’s days are well planned. She wakes up at 6 a.m. for school and returns home at 3 p.m. After lunch, she gears up for her tuition classes in the evening and comes back for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

As part of her social activities, Shree is an active member and participant of weekly youth classes in her neighborhood that intend to bring together creative minds to discuss ongoing social issues around the world.

In her free time, she watches videos of Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic on YouTube. She also enjoys writing and reading books.

As we discussed university options, activities and books, I was curious to learn about the most creative thing she has ever done.
She recalls a group project she had prepared with her teammates.

The project was called ‘Clay and Sand Cooler,’ and included a fridge that Shree and her team designed, which could function without electricity.

Not only did it win the top place, but it was also the only project selected by officials from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which is responsible for the growth and quality of private education in Dubai, for an innovation exhibition organized by the government of Dubai.

Shree’s upbringing and her parents’ encouragement have also had an impact on the way she thinks and acts.

Much like school, home is considered the primary school in a child’s life. In that sense, educating your children on global issues, social issues, and other matters is vital in building the child’s convictions and personality.

In that aspect, Shree’s keen interest in debates is a result of watching political talks shows and discussions on television with her father.

For Shree, spending time with family is important.

“My parents have been my greatest inspiration and role model for me, especially my dad who has taught me self-belief and confidence, voicing out [sic] opinions and how to stick to your decision and taking responsibility for it,” she says with a smile.
If she had to change one thing, it would be altering the regular school routine in order to give sports the same importance as academics.

Shree is also a sports enthusiast, and the various trophies, medals and certificates lined on her cupboard are a testament to her achievements. She was captain of her school’s volleyball team, taking part in various sports events around Dubai.

In addition, Shree says she believes bringing out a student’s creative side is crucial, and this is where teachers play a major role.
However, for now, the world will have to wait. Shree is determined on prepping for her CBSE Board Exams, due in March 2017.

“I’ll have to give up practicing sports and concentrate on the academics for now. Let’s hope that I am a proud high school graduate the next time you come to interview me,” she jokes as her eyes befall on the books lying around in the corner of her room.

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