GoalsOnWheels – Giving global goals direction and speed
My name is Akhilesh Reddy and I am from India. I am an engineer by profession and a sociopreneur by passion. I see myself as a global shaper, yearning to create social impact. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in India and later moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education. There, I got my master’s degree at UNCC in computer science and then I started working as a data engineer.
My interest in data has drawn my attention to the potential of the young generations. I strongly believe in youth and women as harbingers of change. I therefore chose to channel this potential toward the achievement of the global goals. I am also by nature a person who wants it all, right away; and it’s this quality in me that drove me to pursue my project: “GoalsOnWheels.”
Among all key factors that lead to the successful implementation of the SDGs, awareness is the initial step and definitely a top priority, which is why I chose to narrow the awareness gap through #GoalsOnWheels, an initiative that aims to teach youth and children how to become a “global goals generation.” In order to be able to pursue this project, I left my job in the U.S. and flew back to India to start working on the ground.
GoalsOnWheels is an ambitious project that I’ve embarked on with the aim of reaching 100,000 youths and building a humongous workforce that is aware, capable, and willing to work to achieve the global goals. During the initial phase, I have reached my target by persistently working with 100 schools over 100 continuous days. And I have to admit that it wasn’t easy at all. In order to be able to reach 100 schools, I had to travel to about 150 different schools, asking them to adopt “GoalsOnWheels,” and not all of them granted me permission. Nonetheless, my efforts bared fruitful results. Youth can, shall and will be crucial and absolutely essential in achieving global goals.
Each day I go to a different school and conduct tutoring sessions, presentations, discussions and workshops on the subject of the SDGs. It all then turns into active dialogue. Throughout this dialogue, each active member of the school chooses a goal to work on, within their capacity, at school and in their community, so the initiative directly reaches its target, promoting an everyday activity that will indirectly take the ambition further.
Here is an example of how simple, yet impactful my initiative turned out to be: I met a student in the initial days of the campaign and offered him a stage where he could speak his mind. He had volunteered in pursuit of SDG 13, “climate action,” within his school. Recently, I happened to revisit his school and I was thrilled to see the change he had brought about. He convinced not only his friends but the entire school to stop using polythene bags, making their premises a polythene-free zone. He told me he wanted to become a climate action hero by saving his planet from climate deterioration. And this is exactly what the initiative aspires to do: appraise, implement, and inspire. My initiative wants to not only bring awareness but also recognize local issues and generate small immediate solutions.
We are now moving forward, from awareness to implementation. In fact, the next phase of my project will focus on launching multiple campaigns across the world. I am working with peers across borders to replicate the initiative in several countries.
The entire thing started with only me, but I am no longer alone in this. I have a strong team that supports me and many other major social influencers backing the initiative. Now, my dream is to see all children and youth in school, receiving the quality education they deserve. Education is our strongest weapon. If we can educate one generation of youth, we can change the world once and for all.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV