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Wonder Woman: Trishya Screwvala - Empowering the under-resourced

March 8, 2016
Trishya Screwvala, The Lighthouse Project, Founder

Having her roots in the film industry, Trishya, daughter of the famous filmmaker Ronnie Screwvala, had all odds in her favour. During her research to make a documentary on social issues, she came to realise that children from under-resourced communities lacked essential life skills which could be bridged by a positive role model.

Read her inspiring story on how she created a Lighthouse for each of these kids - a guiding pillar that stands tall in every rain and storm giving light and showing path to help them set ashore.

How was The Lighthouse Project born?

The idea was two-fold. I knew a lot of people like myself who had graduated from college or were first-jobbers and wanted to do something impactful and meaningful. They would land up doing these one-off involvements with these NGOs or wouldn’t land up doing anything at all. At the same time, I also noticed that there were a lot of dropouts from the organised sector because of lack of social and life skills. I figured out that they needed positive role models to guide them during their developmental age. This gap allowed us to create a platform where people who have skills, time and experience come together to mentor children form the under-resourced communities.

Can you share one of your success stories?

There was one street child who was irregular in school and had failed a couple of years. His dream was to open a Chinese stall. He showed the same negligent attitude towards the mentoring sessions as well and would not show up for his meetings. After many difficult sessions with him of not showing up, he finally earned his respect through persistence and showed improvement. Now, he still wants to be Chinese stall owner, but an educated one.

Who is your inspiration?

My philosophy teacher – he dedicates his life to his students and serving with so much happiness, that it inspires me. Also, growing up my ballet teacher was a strong inspiration. And parents as well – for the people they are and the people they choose to be and the work they choose to do and how they choose to do it.

What is that one thing that inspires you to keep going everyday?

Reminding myself that we're really a part of something much larger than just ourselves. That is a motivator for me to keep going.

What is your next plan for Lighthouse?

In 5 years, we are looking at touching 1000 mentor-mentee pairs. Keeping the depth that we do and the level of personal interaction that we have with everybody involved.

Trishya Screwvala, The Lighthouse Project, Foundation

What sort of a traveller are you?

Beach person. I love seeing new places. I love the ocean, any and every activity related to being in the water. I am also an advanced PADI certified diver.

Favourite diving spot?

Galapagos islands. It is amazing and completely untouched by humans. They’ve maintained its biodiversity.

What has travelling taught you?

Travelling allows you to get a fresh perspective on things. Opens your mind to something beyond what you see everyday and beyond what you’ve seen before. It is very enriching, rewarding and an immersive learning experience.

When on wanderlust, where would you set off too?

Bhutan. The trekking is beautiful. There’s some lovely monasteries, lovely spiritual side. They have something cool called the Happiness Index which the rest of the world hasn’t figured out yet.

What’s the best thing about being a woman in today’s world?

There’s a lot of good about being a woman in today’s world. Women have a certain sensitivity. It’s a really special quality to be sensitive – to the environment, the people around you, to the needs of people, to responses and reactions of people, workspace and people management perspective, it’s a gift. It’s a very important quality which is sort of neglected. It brings a special energy to the work and anywhere else.

As told to Winnie Karnik