We are excited to announce our Alumni Changemaker Award Honoree! The award recognizes Atlas Corps Alumni that have demonstrated the capacity to affect meaningful change on a global scale and who have a record of accomplishment as well as the prospect of continuing impact.
Congratulations to Atlas Corps Alumna Gargi (Class 1, India, Host: Ashoka Youth Venture), recognized as an Atlas Corps Alumni Changemaker Honoree in 2021! Gargi serves as a Child Protection Officer at UNICEF to ensure the safety of children in Bihar State, India. She works closely with India’s most marginalized tribal communities through a network of organizations, strong hand holding, empowerment of community persons, especially women and girls, changing mindsets of the corrupt bureaucracy and law enforcement.
Thank you, Gargi, for everything you do to preventing child trafficking, forced labor, and supporting to marginalized communities in India. We wish you the best with this impactful work! Read more about Gargi and her projects during the pandemic, and listen to Gargi’s remarks at the Atlas Corps 15th Anniversary Gala on November 20, 2021!
Name: Gargi Saha
Home Country: India
Current organization: UNICEF
Role at current organization: Child Protection Officer
Social Issues that you have worked with: Gender equality, Reduced inequalities, Peace, justice and strong institutions, Partnerships for the goals.
Tell us about projects you have worked on?
I manage the Child Protection portfolio with UNICEF in Bihar, with a focus on prevention and addressing issues of violence against children like trafficking, sexual and physical abuse, forced marriage and labor, unsafe migration. My key engagements have been with the state government, law enforcement, i.e. Police and Judiciary and Railways. Some of the innovative interventions I initiated in Bihar are family based alternative care with a focus on After, Foster and Kinship Care; partnership with the Railway Protection Forces and CHILDLINE to curb child trafficking during the pandemic, and floods in Bihar; Child friendly policing and Adolescent empowerment with a focus on ending child marriage. My key approaches have been to adopt a gender transformative and equity lens that would help in increasing the value of the girl child in a patriarchal state of Bihar.
Why is it important for you to work with marginalized children and youth?
It is my passion and commitment to the social causes especially concerning issues of protection and violence against children adolescents and young person; with a focus on gender.
How has Atlas Corps contributed to your professional and personal accomplishments?
The global platform that Atlas Corps provided helped me confidently get through to the United Nations and increased my professional networks. This has further allowed me to contribute to the development of marginalized and source states of Bihar and Chhattisgarh. At the personal level, I gained courage, resilience, leadership skills, strength and many more global friends.
What is your favorite Atlas Corps memory?
I have many memories of Atlas Corps starting from Day 1 when we landed in an unknown country late into the night, completely exhausted with so much fear and anxiety only to vanish in a few days. To be greeted, taken care of, and mentored by the Atlas Corps family; getting the opportunity to share my thoughts openly; having created a huge network through my Host Organization, Ashoka Youth Venture; making new friends with Fellows from South America, and being part of the family.
What advice do you have for applicants and current Fellows?
I would encourage them to keep shining bright, be open to learning and sharing as an Atlas Corps Fellow, target for far-reaching outcomes and results of bringing about a change in one’s own land/communities. The world needs you!
What message would you like to send to individuals who support Atlas Corps?
Please, keep continuing your support to Atlas Corps. You never know your little contribution could go a long way and help young-mid career development professionals from across the globe, like me. They would have otherwise never imagined reaching the United States to learn, share, create a community of supporters that finally helped me to bring about far-reaching policy changes in my country.
On November 20, Atlas Corps celebrates 15 years of engaging social change leaders. Join us to honor our legacy of service with more than 1,000 leaders from 104 countries at the Atlas Corps 15-Year Anniversary Gala. We will convene friends of Atlas Corps from all sectors and regions of the world to reflect on 15 years of engaging social changemakers and inspire towards our future. Join to connect with our community, meet Fellows, and celebrate Atlas Corps!
Photo from the personal archive of Gargi Saha