Ginny's Planet: Shweta Verma's Journey towards Inclusion, Diversity, and Education in Delhi-NCR
Shweta Verma, Class of 2019, talks about her enterprise, Ginny's Planet that works in the areas of inclusion, disability and education in Delhi-NCR.
As a social work professional engaging with people with disabilities, I aspired to work towards creating an inclusive world. The trigger to move faster and with urgency, came with the birth of my son and his complex health conditions.
Ginny’s Planet is helping build a world where nobody is considered to be the odd-one-out based on differences. To achieve this, we are nurturing a network of aware, empathic individuals. We do this through our Ginny doll, storybooks, and training for children (and people of other ages) on themes of empathy, diversity, disability as diversity, and using inquiry to know about the world around us.
Through different workshops and stories, we engage children in discovering and recognising that: it is okay to be different; how can they respond to opinions and judgments; how can they find out what they don’t know; and how can they respond to emotions of others. Since the lockdown started in March 2020, we have been delivering workshops via video call to children in diverse contexts, including those living in childcare institutions; or from other marginalised backgrounds.
Ridhima, a curious and strong-headed ten years old, has been associated since the beginning of our social enterprise. She has influenced our work as much as how our interventions have changed her.
Out of the four workshops we offer, she wanted to learn about research. Ridhima actively participated in the workshop, asked questions with inhibition and was ready to work on her report with a lot of enthusiasm. By the time she submitted her research report, she had already decided on the next question that she wanted to find answers. She has also expressed interest in receiving quizzes from us to keep her learning ongoing.
Through our workshops, she embraced that “People have different opinions and an explorer never stops learning. The workshop was entertaining, fun-filled, and you can decide the topic you want to research on.” For her mother, “Ridhima was excited about the homework and put in the effort to figure out the answers. She enjoyed the interactive sessions and appreciated the tasks given.”
"Every once in a rare while the vision of a great person gets transformed into reality, and when that happens, initiatives such as the SSE take root. People today are looking for purpose and questioning what makes the world a better place and the role they can play therein. These are the answers SSE helps them discover. It offers a rock-solid platform, giving wings to ideas that are grounded in reality to achieve success. I am drawn to the purpose and vision driving SSE. It was an honour to be a mentor a Fellow at SSE India.
Paired to partner with Shweta Verma in her journey to create awareness about diversity and inclusion seemed fated as it is a subject close to my heart. Shweta is an absolute powerhouse and has no compunction getting her hands dirty. Delightfully curious and always willing to learn, Shweta has her 360* blueprint for success ready with Ginny's Planet, and I am positive she will get there sooner than later. The mentor-mentee culture that SSE is fostering is something all organisations would do well to emulate as it creates that perfect balance required to grow – personally and professionally, all the while making a difference where it matters.” Gunjan Batra, Mentor SSE India.