Rhea Thakkal and Ankitha Reddy have embarked on a mission that sounds quite impossible to achieve at the outset. But their grit and determination have helped them to reach out to many children who have erratic behaviour of various levels. The Chirec school students are addressing the issue of mental health among poor children, and they are getting all the support they need.
When they began on their project, it was no cakewalk. Government schools and orphanages could not understand two teenagers trying to tackle the mental health issues of poor children. That’s when Rhea and Ankitha turned to their family and friends, who were like pillars of support.
Slowly, steadily, they gained the trust of both the institutions and children and started discussing various issues that haunt the young minds of underprivileged children. Though the children were initially quite averse to the idea of talking on camera, they were taught basic life skills that made them more camera-friendly.
Today, Rhea and Ankitha work closely with Dr Geetha Challa. The class 12 students of Chirec school started with their project when they happened to be part of the ‘1million1billion future leader programme’. They also work with psychologists from Manojagatri.
The duo raised Rs 1 lakh for the children so that they could get counselled as psychologists charged Rs 5000 per session. They also raised Rs 15 lakh for Akshaya Patra. They were subsequently selected to present their project at the 5th 1M1B Activate Impact Summit in New York City.
However, due to the pandemic, they came up with relatable video modules in various languages making use of many school volunteers. Their project is called Vishwasa, which means confidence, belief and hope. Right now, Vishwasa is providing video modules to 250 children and helping eight government schools in the city.
But Rhea and Ankitha’s main objective is to develop more modules relating to mental health issues and reach out to children not just in Hyderabad but also in other cities. They also want to collaborate with other organisation with a similar goal.