Meet Ankit Kawatra, the founder of Feeding India who has been selected by the United Nations as a Young Leader to advocate the Sustainable Development Goals. He is one of the 17 people who were selected from 18,000 nominations across 186 countries.
Ankit was 22 when he left his corporate job to start Feeding India – a youth-run not-for-profit organisation that channelizes excess food to feed the hungry. What had started as a team of 5, the organization grew to a network of more than 2,000 volunteers in 28 cities in India feeding over 1 million meals.
On 19th September 2016, he was announced as a United Nations Young Leader at the Social Good Summit in New York. Ankit has been recognized by the United Nations for his leadership and contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice.
Ankit, attended the United Nations 71st General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York following a series of high-level events. He helped draft a plan to be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior levels at United Nations to engage the youth to help achieve the SDGs. Welcoming the appointment, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said “These 17 young change-makers are a testament to the ingenuity of youth and I congratulate them for their exceptional leadership and for demonstrating commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Ankit believes that national problems are everyone’s responsibility, and sustainable solutions can be built by commoners with due planning. According to the Young leader, Hunger and Food Waste are global problems which should be addressed by the people together. “My aim to see my country and its people free from the pangs of hunger and malnutrition. I want to achieve Zero Hunger” said Ankit. His goal is to make “Hunger a history” in India in his lifetime.
Ankit has big plans to achieve this goal. “My learnings and experiences during the interactions at the 71st General Assembly Elections will help me better direct and mobilise the country’s youth to solve hunger through Feeding India. Since hunger is not a problem only faced by India, understanding how other countries are tackling this issue in their own country and also the role played by governments, private businesses, social activists, civic bodies, etc. will help me make more informed decisions towards better utilisation of resources.”
Looking back at his journey he recollects how his passion to solve the problem of hunger stemmed from. After graduation, he started his career in a global business advisory firm where he was involved in research and communications for two years, until he witnessed food for 5,000 people being wasted at a single wedding in Delhi. The thought of food going to waste in a country which has the highest number of undernourished people appalled him and left him wondering why no one had stepped up to take action yet.
I decided that if no one else was going to help solve the national problems, it might as well be me who solves it. I was 22 when I quit my corporate job to start Feeding India.” said Ankit. “With no prior-experience or contacts in the social sector, it was just my vision and belief of making India a hunger-free country that made me start my journey.” he added.
Today, we have the largest youth generation in history – about half of the global population is under age 30. Young people will be the people who implement and carry these goals over the next 15 years. Ankit is an inspiration to the country’s youth. We definitely need more such leaders who can stand up to help solve global issues and make the world a better place to live for all.