Gunjan Mhapankar (21), who moved from Mumbai to Vancouver in Canada six years ago, has done not only the city but the entire country proud. Mhapankar has recently became the recipient of the Queen’s Young Leader Award, which recognises and celebrates exceptional people, aged 18-29 years, from across the commonwealth countries, who take a lead in their communities and use their skills to transform lives.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mhapankar won the award for bringing communities closer by throwing light on non-profits organisations and the lesser privileged. She was among the 60 winners selected from across the world. She will be felicitated in June in the UK by the Queen herself. Along with this, she will be offered a unique package of mentoring, networking and leadership training provided by the University of Cambridge, and a chance to meet global business leaders, celebrities and distinguished guests at the palace.Mhapankar co-founded the Digital Storytelling Project in partnership with British Columbia 211 helpline and a non-profit organisation for the communities, to generate rich digital outreach content for local non-profits. The 4-6 minute videos have not only gone viral on bc211’s social media channels but have also impacted the way societies look at the issue.When dna inquired about the inspiration behind the project, Mhapankar said, “These groups include women, children, youth, homeless, senior citizens, LGBTQ, sex workers, drug users and people with disabilities and mental illness. Poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition, a lack of self-esteem and connectedness to the community support are only some of the challenges experienced by these groups.”The 21-year-old moved to Canada with her family when she was 15. Currently, however, her parents are based in Mumbai whereas she lives with her sister Noopur in Vancouver. The enterprising young girl is now planning to develop opportunities to share the voices of these community-based organisations and envisions herself doing work that allows her to give back to vulnerable groups. Also, being in her last year of Microbiology and Immunology major, she ispassionate about healthcare and hopes to apply her skills to serve people as a doctor.
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