Please introduce and tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Parul Yadav and I am south Asian Indian GEN Z with a growing passion towards Public Relation/Communication as well as Global Development. I am currently in my last semester of undergraduate studies at Delhi University, India. I am pursuing English Literature as well as a minor in Philosophy. Apart from my studies, I am really passionate about women empowerment and entrepreneurship for young Indian women.
I identify India as a country with a disproportionately large adolescent and youth population, often referred to as the demographic dividend. Naturally, there are benefits and drawbacks to this reality, including inherent challenges for young women seeking meaningful careers in Media or Journalism or Public Relations. Many women in India fall prey to developmental and societal barriers while achieving their dreams. Given that situation I also founded an organization called We Believe India which trains young girls through mentorship programs and guides them in identifying their ambitions as well providing them with meaningful opportunities. I genuinely want to create an impact for young growing female entrepreneurs out there.
I see that you’re the founder of WEBelieve India. Could you tell us a little about the initiative and what your overall goal(s) for it are?
Yes! We Believe India is an online community created for women, by women in India. These safe spaces make it easier for you to be candid, original and authentic, because you have the assurance of being surrounded by like-minded people. You can be part of conversations initiated by women in similar walks of life, where there is the promise of an open and encouraged expression of vulnerability.
By founding and establishing We Believe India – a community organization I wanted to ensure that more female leaders emerge as a byproduct of our mentorship program. Our focus is helping young women feel confident and providing them with the opportunity to explore any path that they wish to take in life. We also want to voice out how important diversity is with the political and economic aspects of participation be it from any individual, gender and in all forms of life.
I built We Believe India for universities/college going young girls, a platform that enables students to connect with everyone at and get access to part-time jobs & internships opportunities.
What obstacles have you come across since you founded WEBelieve India and how did you overcome them? Furthermore, what self-care practices would you recommend to anyone who is wanting to start their own non-profit?
The journey of catalyzing real change has always certainly been a challenging one. I developed confidence and strength from rebelling against family patriarchy and moving on from a safe ‘occupation’ to travel the road less taken. The momentum and sense of purpose I now have fueled me every morning. Therefore, to combat the same gender justice realm I focused upon the women and girls’ voices that were too often excluded from global and national decision-making.
To anyone willing to start a non profit organization. Trial and error is the best advice to find your vision and purpose. Try onto new things everyday, explore what fuels you? What makes you want to bring a change in the world? With access to tons of information and the tools out there, make the most of it, start your organization from scratch, make new discoveries, transform your communities and change the way we all learn, work, and live!
How has the pandemic affected you mentally? What things did you learn about yourself during the course of this pandemic that you didn’t know before?
I was overwhelmed with all the changes that were happening! The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of things about our lives in some pretty obvious ways, changes that you’ve probably heard all about. Spending more time at home by virtue of its social structure, a variety of personal and social changes took place. Family is one such vital resource, and being in close touch with your loved one in real life or virtually via social media helped me alleviate stress considerably. Of course, the opposite situation prevails with those who do not get along well with their families, inducing more conflict and promoting poorer outcomes during this period.
I saw drastic changes in my productivity and behavior during the last year. It’s so easy to get caught up in insignificant things that have little value or think too far in advance. This idea got me thinking about how often I assume different perspectives on things which I shouldn’t even consider in the first place. I let out that toxicity from my life and focused more on manifesting my goals and dreams.
Where is the line drawn when it comes to work commitments and one’s emotional well-being?
As young students we’re told that we need to work hard to get where we want to be. This is true but also remind yourself that work doesn’t define you, don’t neglect the rest of your personality, the part that your friends and family love you for. It wasn’t too long ago that I realised this aspect of my life was taking over, and yes I can’t fix it by clicking my fingers but the first step is realisation. No one’s actually got it all together!
Why do you think prioritizing mental health is so important, especially for youth?
Emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical health. Prioritizing good mental health or well being helps young people develop the skills they need to cope with whatever life throws at them. So it’s really important that we look after ourselves both physically and mentally. People can feel down or out of control for many reasons. Remember it’s okay to feel like this and support is always out there!
I also noticed that you enjoy art? Could you tell us a little about how art has impacted your life for the better?
I have a knack for serving as an individual who unleashes network of art and activism to create a feminist space which opens up intercultural fostering relationship’s between diverse individuals. For me art has been a tool for the mass embedment of intersectionality among various communities, and diverse into free flow of my creativity and thoughts. Illustration as a form of digital art has helped me grow in the new arena of artivism (displaying art + activism as a blend of social causes and creativity) .
I usually create my illustrations to shed light upon a community that uses art as a tool to empower young people to take action, breaks down barriers in the art and activism world by giving women and POC a voice. Art helped me to display a positive representation of the world through my lens.
What does mental health mean to YOU?
Mental health and wellness to me is the state at which one feels, thinks, and behaves. Having solid mental health doesn’t mean that you never go through bad times or experience emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. Whether you’re looking to cope with a specific mental health problem, handle your emotions better, or simply to feel more positive and energetic, there are plenty of ways to take control of your mental health—starting today!