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Posted at 10:46 PM ET, 01/30/2011

From Sole to Souls

By Anjali Chandrashekar

British Council Global Changemakers is a network of young social entrepreneurs and community activists from 110 countries worldwide.

They say all good things come to an end. Well I still stand by the title of my first blog - it is " just the beginning" -- a beginning of a new life for all of us once we get back to our normal worlds. It's unfathomable that five days passed so quickly, and it is still so surreal for me. Saturday morning began with our ideas lab, the most awaited moment for all us Changemakers. Dan began the ideas lab, which was followed by Raquel, Mai, Trevor and finally me. It was the five minutes we have been preparing for, for the last one and a half months. However, at the end of it, with all the preparation and practice, we came to realize that it was our personal stories, that we just needed to be ourselves. The discussion that ensued was so enriching, and we got a lot of good feedback on how we could scale and improve our project.

We went out to celebrate our success at Café Schneider and then we headed back to the congress centre. Raquel and I went to a very interesting session about sustainability. All the participants were asked to choose from topics like housing, values, leisure and entertainment, and we were also given age groups like parents (income generators), great-grandparents, teenagers and children. We were to discuss how the world will look like to us in the year 2050. We then came back to the present to try to rethink how we would make the current year better with what we expected in the future.

The five of us + Fran, our director, headed back to our house to work, take a break and then get ready for the soiree. We were all decked up and took a cab for the first time to the congress centre, and what we saw completely blew our mind. The very place where all the sessions happened had been converted into one very desi hall with so much Indian-ness to it. While we binged on the food we also saw a fashion collection by Indian designer Anamika Khanna and a guest appearance by Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone. I have never felt more proud of being Indian that last night, because of the amount of our culture that was portrayed at the soiree. We danced till about 2 a.m. and then left for home to hit the bed.

Today was personally my favorite out of all the days, not only because Dan and Raquel were on the closing plenary but also because it was an incredible, inspiring and moving session. Post the closing plenary we went up to Schatzalp to see the most beautiful mountains and have some seriously amazing food. We also had lunch with Nick Vujicic and then we FINALLY went sledding down the Schatzalp, and that was probably the most liberating experience I have ever had in my entire life. Sledding down Swiss mountains amid the tall trees and snow was a visual treat to any artist, and I captured it all with my eyes, the best camera ever. The sledding caused so much friction that the sole of my boot ripped off and I ended up walking back home with just a sock on my leg. It made me realize something that people always talk about -- the spirit of Davos. To me, it would be to capture and savor every moment - the people, the humor, the food, the nature and most importantly the belief that all of us could contribute in improving the state of the world in one way or another. I might have left the sole of my boot in Davos, but I am definitely taking back my enriched soul - it's invaluable.

Anjali is a two-time national award-winning visual artist and activist and has been using her artwork to raise funds and awareness for many national and international organizations. She believes that art is a universal language and a tool that cuts across barriers of language, religion and literacy. Anjali is passionate about the environment and the preservation of biodiversity, and she uses art as medium of education. Her paintings have also been used in international auctions to raise funds for diabetes research, buying insulin for children in developing countries and funding free dialysis for poor kidney patients. The sale of related merchandise has benefited numerous organizations that work against child abuse, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease and smoking. She is a Rotary youth ambassador and gives talks at various schools and forums to help empower youth. In addition she helps integrate and rehabilitate orphans and physically and mentally challenged children by teaching them art. She has represented India at the World School International Forum and the International Diabetes Federation. Anjali is currently in the 12th grade at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Junior College in Chennai, India.

By Anjali Chandrashekar  | January 30, 2011; 10:46 PM ET
Categories:  Anjali Chandrashekar  
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