Thirteen-year-old Sumitra Nayak, a rugby player from Odisha who captained her team to the Touraid Under-13 International Girls Rugby Tournament in London, and won against England’s team, set the tone for the annual TEDx event in the city on Saturday when she asked why girls face difficulties in taking sporting careers.
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The teenager, who recalled how the atmosphere in her small village is not conducive towards a girl who wants to take up a sporting career, said, “My mother has a big contribution in pushing me. But if I am able to do this and share my story with you here, why can’t other girls do the same? Didn’t I show what I could do?”
The annual event that took place at Hyatt Regency was centered around the theme ‘#WhyNot’. It invited speakers to talk about ideas which they had executed successfully in the face of obstacles.
Amongst the speakers at the event were Chanderi’s Muzaffar Ansari, the only tourist guide to have been licensed by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department, Dr Sonali Kataria, founder of Sunrise Learning, Sarang Gosavi, founder of Aseem Foundation, Wajid Khan, an Indian artist, portraitist, sculptor, inventor and patent holder, Tanvi Kulkarni, Chairperson, People for Animal Pune and Rwitwika Bhattacharya, founder of the NGO Swaniti.
“When we thought of bringing TEDx for Pune, there were a few guidelines we had thought of. So for example, one such guideline is that we have an equal number of women and men speakers on the panel today, and the talks shall be on inspirational ideas, moving forward,” said Ashwin Naik, co-founder of TEDx Pune.
Continuing the session with seven more speakers, Akshay Saxena, cofounder and President of Avanti, a non-profit organisation established to provide disadvantaged students a high-level education to get into India’s top colleges, said, “There’s an area of problem — in all of this high level of technology we have today — where technology hasn’t been able to make a dent yet, and that is education, especially education in India. We found that there is a shortage of 1 million teachers in public schools in India today.”
Besides the main talks, the event had some live performances, an experience zone which showcased a few inventions including a motor and pedal powered three-wheeler titled Vulcan 3.0, by the students of College of Engineering, Pune.