21-year-old Meera Mehta is a young COVID-19 warrior and latest recipient of The Diana Award. She volunteers with the global non-profit Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care and has been awarded the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
Given out by The Diana Award charity and supported by The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex, the Diana Award is awarded to young changemakers. This year, 23 young Indians between 11 to 25 years old have received the award.
“We congratulate all our new Diana Award recipients who are changemakers for their generation. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens,” said Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award.
Since the tender age of six, Meera has been inspired by Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai, founder of Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care, to volunteer for various projects for the remote communities of South Gujarat with the belief “Make compassion your nature, not hobby, habit or mood.”
“I will always remember the day at the first tribal camp I visited. When I gave a tribal child a gift, Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai encouraged me to say thank you to that child and told me that it is a privilege to be able to serve the less fortunate,” said Meera. “What Pujya Gurudevshri taught me changed my entire perspective towards fundraising. While I continue to actively raise funds, I am also studying hard to become a doctor, and help tribal children in more ways than one.”
Implementing this teaching, Meera raised enormous funds for many initiatives including the health and education projects, tertiary healthcare for a rural charity hospital, a Science college for the tribal students, primary and secondary education for indigenous communities, an ICU unit for new-born, and a skill development program for rural women.
She raised over Rs 33 lakhs to support vulnerable communities during the pandemic. With that amount, she was instrumental in sponsoring 2 buses for migrant workers to return to their hometown in Bihar, providing over lakhs of meals for daily wagers and support to thousands frontline workers with PPE Kits and masks.
Meera Mehta was also selected as an ‘Inspirational Change Agent’ at the Mumbai Marathon 2019, alongside the eminent boxer Mary Kom, for her impactful fundraising endeavors.
Across her 10-year journey, she has raised over Rs 1.5 crore, garnering massive support from corporates, celebrities and organisations. In addition to several awards and accolades won for fundraising, Meera was also presented the ‘Youth Leader 2015’ award by The Global Education & Leadership Foundation, India for her unique social impact project ‘Poster to Shelter’.
Other Indians who won The Diana Award this year include 17-year-old Nandani Agarwal who works towards improving India’s organ donations; 11-year-old Adrika Goyal who teaches self-defence to empower girls in her community; and 22-year-old Neeraj Murmu who established a local school for underprivileged children.