#GoodNews: College dropout changes the lives of 1000+ underprivileged children

·5-min read

From a college dropout to becoming a writer and then drove her way to be a social entrepreneur, the story of a 22-year-old Delhiite Alice Sharma is one hell of a rollercoaster ride.

Recently, INBA felicitated her success story and selected her as one of the 100 leading ladies of India award alongside the most reputed professors, lawyers, and honourable justices.

The journey from a college dropout to becoming a writer

In 2016, after completing her high school, she gave her entrance to apply for the law colleges and managed to get into a competent one. Just before the admission process, her health deteriorated and she was bedridden for the next three months. She was forced to drop out for the entire year.

She expressed her feelings about the dropout by saying, “That phase was very depressing for me. I almost made it to my dream college, yet I couldn't be there. Moreover, the pressure was building up because I come from a background of a legal tribe”.

That’s when she started to take up writing as her next move to give an optimistic push to her career.

The same year, she started her blogs and soon the content became viral on multiple platforms.

Awarded as 100 inspiring authors of India by The Indian Awaz
Awarded as 100 inspiring authors of India by The Indian Awaz

In 2017, Alice launched her first book named “The last board exam”, which became an instant bestseller on Amazon. In 2018, she wrote another book titled, “Longer than forever”, which also took to the top bestselling charts. “The book was all over - Online bestselling charts, oxford bestselling stands. It got me the National Literary Award 100 inspiring authors of India award”, says the Delhi writer & author.

From acing the bestseller lists to getting her name in the prestigious India Book of Records, for being the youngest writer of India to write four books in a day, there has been no looking back since then.

This isn’t as easy as looked or heard, but Alice followed her gut and committed to achieving it.

Recognized as the youngest writer to publish 4 books in a day
Recognized as the youngest writer to publish 4 books in a day

When asked about the role model and inspiration behind this story, she said, “I've never looked up to anyone in my life, there's no one I would want to become like. I don't believe in the concepts of having role models and inspirations. My failures are the only inspiration and motivation that I would ever lean on. They make me strong. They make me who I am.”

Endless stumbling blocks

The impediments were umpteen in Alice’s en route towards mounting success, yet the upward journey never jolts to a stop. She has always been a person of her own decisions and followed her gut.

“Leaving behind a profession that assured me financial security, wasn't a decision that happened overnight, especially when you come from a family that has a legal tribe. It was certainly a tough call,” says Alice.

Also, being a social entrepreneur, building a team was the other challenge faced by Alice. Starting an NGO was an idea but the initiation needs a determined team to accomplish the mission. It took 8 months for her to build the right team.

A guest speaker in the panel speaking about breaking stereotypes
A guest speaker in the panel speaking about breaking stereotypes

“Some people were also kind enough to tell me directly and indirectly that I wouldn't be able to handle the two of them simultaneously, and everything would clash”.

And the hassle didn’t stop there.

“Getting associated with other NGOs seemed difficult because we were new to this system to understand the dynamics and make others comprehend our conceptions and way of working,” she shares.

The idea to start an NGO

Alice is one of the survivors of the Uttarakhand tragedy that took place in 2013. She was stuck in a ravaged room with 17 other people for 7 nights. The ground floor and the first floor were completely submerged in water.

With no access to washrooms, food, or even water, she said, “I saw buildings collapsing into dust, I've seen people weeping over the dead bodies, I've seen people abandoning the bodies of their loved ones because they had to save their own lives. I've seen life on the ending edge.”

Invited as a motivational speaker at College of vocational studies, DU
Invited as a motivational speaker at College of vocational studies, DU

Though the whole disaster was unanticipated, it was so heart-wrenching to hear about the unwelcoming deaths of several innocent people. Luckily, she survived and returned to her home safely.

“When you are exposed to situations that show you the very end of life, you transform. You become fearless. You learn gratitude. You learn how to go out of your way to help people. That's how I came up with Vastra Aur Zindagiyan to make lives less vulnerable, and more bearable,” says the 22-year old.

Youth oriented workshop by Vastra Aur Zindagiyan
Youth oriented workshop by Vastra Aur Zindagiyan

Now, the NGO raise funds via crowdfunding campaigns and online activist network campaigns that are organised with people that belong to the same mind-sets as ours, and who are driven by the will to help the unprivileged.

The organisation works towards addressing the educational front of the unprivileged children, uplift the unprivileged sections, providing them with clothes, sanitation facilities & education. Apart from all of the aforementioned, the organisation helps them strengthen their leadership potential and fight all the odds.

Shaping young minds workshop by Vastra Aur Zindagiyan
Shaping young minds workshop by Vastra Aur Zindagiyan

Today, the NGO has successfully worked with over 1000 children in encouraging them to follow a path that would liberate and enable them to lead a life with dignity and respect.

What’s Next?

“I want to achieve World Book of Records and Limca Book Of Records etched under my name. For Vastra Aur Zindagiyan (VAZ), we have plans to reach out to more than 7,000 unprivileged children and help them shape up their mindsets in a productive and leading direction.”

As a feminist and LGBTQ supporter, she also has plans to associate VAZ with NGOs and voluntary groups that are working for uplifting the status of unprivileged women and LGBTQ communities.

All the images in the article are sourced with permission from Alice Sharma.