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 Palakh: "If you think one person’s actions can’t change the whole world, think again, because the actions of that person can change the whole world for one person!"

Issue XV Emerging Empowerer 

Written Interview by Akshita Singh 

Palakh Khanna is a 19-year-old Youth Changemaker, Social Entrepreneur, Mentor, teacher and environmentalist from New Delhi. She is India’s 20 under 20 and the Regional Officer for Asia Pacific (under the SDG Student Program by UN SDSN Youth) as well as a Harvard Innovation Fellow. She is a recipient of the Pride of Nation Award for Social Impact, and was felicitated by Gen (Dr.) VK Singh, Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Minister of Civil Aviation for the same. She is working towards breaking taboos and stigmas as well as youth empowerment through her organization Break.The.Ice. She is also a World Record Holder and has been recognised for her work by US Times Now, The Hindu, Global Indian amongst others. The youngest mentor and coach for the Business Blasters program, a Govt. of Delhi initiative, she aims to create a better society for all. She is also a LinkedIn content creator with over 30,000+ followers on the platform.

​‘Break The Ice ' is an incredible and novel organisation, facilitating change in society. What all does it entail and how did you bring this concept to life?

Palakh : Thank you so much for the question! Break.The.Ice is an International Youth organization working towards breaking taboos and stigmas in society and helping in creating an enlightened youth community. We work towards all things taboo, from mental health to menstruation to gender equality and everything in between. It started because of one single triggering moment for me! During the pandemic, I overheard a conversation between my mom and my domestic help, when my domestic help had had her periods at our place but she was shying away from a conversation about periods. I was triggered and I told my mom that we live in the 21st century and we need to get over stigmas to grow as a community! That’s when Break.The.Ice was formed to talk about all things which aren’t talked about.

 

What has been your favourite project that you’ve pursued under Break The Ice? What are projects that you hope to take up in the future?

 

I loved the Menstruation Summit we organised with PeeSafe! Majority of the people in the session were men and that was by far the most educational summit we have ever had! In the future, we wish to explore the metaverse.

 

What is the ultimate goal you wish to achieve through your work? What impact do you think and hope to manifest in society through it?

 

Through Break.The.Ice, I wish to create a global safe space where we talk about all things taboo openly and honestly! I believe taboos are simply pushed under the carpet of ignorance because people don’t question them and Break.The.Ice can be that platform where we not only question but we get enlightened! Our ultimate goal is helping in creating a better society for all!

Alongside Break The Ice you’re a passionate environmentalist and the UN SDG regional officer for Asia-Pacific. What are your responsibilities and how did you achieve this commendable position?

Palakh: I think it all happened coincidently. I wanted to be a part of projects that work on any SDG since I’m extremely passionate about them. When I got appointed as the Regional Officer for Asia Pacific, I began to implement the changes, the inputs related to SDGs in the Asia Pacific region. Again, while the role demands a lot, it is exciting to learn about different countries and different cultures and adopting different strategies for them.

You were featured in India’s 20 under 20 which is an exceptional valour! How did this make you feel? Did you ever imagine yourself at a young age to have achieved such an accolade?

Palakh:  Firstly, thank you so much! I think, from the time that I was 7, I have always wanted to  create change and I have always believed that I WILL CREATE CHANGE! That’s been my purpose and my passion throughout my journey. Getting this recognition was a motivation for me to keep going and keep working towards bringing change!

 

Have you ever been criticised or not given as much credit as some of your colleagues due to being a social entrepreneur at a young age? What are your thoughts on this baseless social taboo and how do you, literally, break the ice in such situations?

Palakh: Sadly, yes. There have been moments where people question my worth simply because I’m 19 however getting over that stereotype is relatively easy! If you are able to make the other person understand your passion and your dedication to the cause, they begin to respect you! Breaking the ice in this situation can be tough but if you’re passionate, you’ll shine through confidently!

RAPID FIRE ROUND WITH PALAKH 

 

One quote or advice that has stuck with you ?

Dream Collaboration ?

One song you can rely on to always cheer you up ? 

One thing about you that people don’t know ?

Something I could eat forever 

Which TV show or movie would you love to feature in ?

If you think one person’s actions can’t change the whole world, think again, because the actions of that person can change the whole world for one person!

Definitely collaborating with the UN in some way!

I have an entire playlist for that!

That I am an extreme introvert in my personal space! I tend to interact with lots of people in my professional space, but I need my own time to recharge my social battery!

Sushi

I would love to be a part of any detective, murder mystery honestly! I love watching them and being a part of them would be like solving the case!

Have you ever been criticised or not given as much credit as some of your colleagues due to being a social entrepreneur at a young age? What are your thoughts on this baseless social taboo and how do you, literally, break the ice in such situations?

Palakh: Sadly, yes. There have been moments where people question my worth simply because I’m 19 however getting over that stereotype is relatively easy! If you are able to make the other person understand your passion and your dedication to the cause, they begin to respect you! Breaking the ice in this situation can be tough but if you’re passionate, you’ll shine through confidently!

Palakh's Social Profiles: 

Break the Ice
Social Media Profiles: 

Watch our interview with Palakh Khanna, Emerging Empowerer of Issue XV
Palakh Khanna Interview

Palakh Khanna

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