Interviewed by The Success Today – A Digital Webzine
Could you tell us about yourself and your work?
My name is Sonali Sharma. I hail from Dehradun, the city of love and also the capital of the hilly State of Uttarakhand. I have done a Masters’ in Environmental Science from Panjab University Chandigarh. Currently, I am pursuing my PhD in the same field. I am a person who believes that science is for the service of humanity. I try to connect both science and social work. I do this in the field and through my writings. I have been involved in doing social work and writing since my school days, but it was during my post-graduation that these two passions of mine developed into something I wouldn’t leave in my life. I was a Rotaractor during my University days, I also won the National Essay Competition during that time. Since then I have been motivated to continue social work and writing. I have associated myself with national and international writing platforms and social organizations. I believe I will continue to expand these powerful humanitarian and creative relationships.
How you and your service is helping society?
As a social worker, I think that in some way I am trying my level best to make a change in society. I think whatever work I have done till date is still very small and a lot needs to be done. However, during one of the environmental campaigns where I participated, I believe that I reached a lot of young lives. These children studying in government schools have a lot to contribute but unfortunately, they are not provided all the resources. I tried to impart whatever little knowledge I had among them. I also reached some rural women during a workshop on legal rights and democracy for women. There have been times when I have helped NGOs and indirectly helped ignored Adivasi communities. As a writer, I have written about forest communities and their lesser-known problems and rights in Down to Earth. At the end of the day I only think that powerful social voices must be heard to help society at large.
What is the USP of your work?
Well, USP in my work is the service of humanity. It appeals to all when you think for the well-being of others, it automatically reaches people’s hearts. And then, they become more connected with your honest intentions. The circle builds and expands. Once I came to know from a school teacher of mine that whatever you do must be done from your heart, it could be any work big or small. That is what has worked as magic in my case. Hard work and honesty are the other two things that must follow with your kind work. There is no beating or shortcut in this. Resilience is what I have described in one of my edited books Fall to Pieces. When you are resilient nothing can break you. There are just short breaks of exhaustion but no dying or giving up. When you know you have to serve, you bounce back with the USP of service to mankind.
What are your Vision and Mission?
My vision is to remove the word empowerment from the lives of the deprived. I want to strive for a world where nobody is empowering anyone, but people empower themselves. The deprived men, women, and children should realize that they have immense potential to make their lives better. Society and government should just assist like anyone you and me. My mission is very much connected to my vision. There is an example of how a race can be won if we only run at a mediocre speed because we have to cover the entire distance. Similarly, I feel that a uniform mission with consistency as the key must be deployed to create a visible and larger impact in society in the long run. So, I want to run for humanitarian service at a pace that I meet all during my journey of life.
What are your achievements in this industry?
I have made some small yet memorable achievements in my field. I have been associated with many grassroots and international organizations. I have been a Rotaract Club Chandigarh Himalayan member, Earth Ambassador for the International Centre for Culture and Education and Official Campus Ambassador for International Model United Nations. I have worked with Greenpeace India as a volunteer. Engaged as Project Coordinator for UNESCO-certified organization Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun. At the grassroots, I also worked with Indian Environmentalist Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi and his organization Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO). I have served as Executive Secretary (BOG), of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra on an honorary basis. I have been invited to the Local Youth Conference India (LCOY) 2022 in Nadiad, Gujarat. Presented with Honorarium by National Dalit Movement for Justice, New Delhi.
As a published author I have contributed to ClimAct Magazine, Pakistan and Down To Earth, New Delhi, Indian Policy Review by Indian School of Public Policy, Ecology and Action Centre magazine, Canada, Women’s Web, LiveWire, Indian Periodical, Indus Woman Writing, Indian Ruminations. I have co-authored 11 anthologies by various publishing houses. My international publications include DG Sentinel Magazine (US), Kali Project: Indian Women Voices (US), FemAsia (UK), Period Magazine (Netherlands), Setu (US), Biophilia (Scotland), International Human Rights Art Festival (NY). I am also a member of All India Forum for English Students, Scholars, and Trainers (AIFEST). I have compiled and edited work of 24 authors from India and abroad recently in Fall to Pieces: Stand, Break, and Rise published by Inkfeathers Publishing, New Delhi. I am also the winner of India’s Youngest Poet 2021 by Indian Film House, Bangalore. I have been awarded as the most iconic social worker and author by Diva Planet Magazine. I have also been nominated for a social work award by Narayan Sewa Samiti, Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Does your work ever feel tedious to you? If so, how do you stay driven and motivated towards it?
No, working for people has never been a tedious task for me. You may say that I get over-engrossed with my work sometimes. On any occasion if I got tired (which I am not able to remember currently), then I would get myself busy with a nap or reading a book or doing some creative work. Self-motivation and vision is behind my work, so I think there is no tiredness or ending to it.
What are your hobbies and specific interests other than your profession?
I have a lot of hobbies or maybe things that I want to keep doing and which I haven’t done yet. Writing of course is one of my best passions. I want to keep editing books with publishing houses and I want to write a few books based on my research. I wish to work on a wastewater technology that eases the lives of women through livelihood opportunities. After all, natural resource management is best done by women in agriculture and even in our homes. Apart from this, I wish to learn German and acrylic painting. I wish to pursue research further in a foreign land. I want to connect with people globally to know about their culture and their nature-based innovations that help science and humanity
You have achieved so much in life, any specific advice you’d like to share with our readers to grow in life?
Growth is self-determined. You decide with your mind what is good for you and what is not. Once you decide, you adopt resilience in your hands because you know there will be both standing and falling in this self-determined journey. Then, walk on, think, create, innovate, build, rise, and shine out. You will make it my friend. One day everybody makes it. Stand, Break and Rise. Make everything that binds you fall to pieces. When you are doubted, stay silent, don’t question, don’t reply. Wake up the next day and work again.
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