gunjan

One Young World Profile profiles

Gunjan Mhapankar

Studies:
University of British Columbia

I am passionate about

I am a 21-year-old Indo-Canadian living in Vancouver who believes in leading social change at the level of the community by supporting the mission of local non-profits. The non-profit sector in Canada is addressing some of the most critical social challenges we face today, and yet this sector has the most uncultivated potential. The non-profit sector is under-investing in digital outreach and awareness building due to a lack of resources, funding, time or expertise. There is a clear lack of awareness not just among those seeking help, but also, a lack of communication between service-providers. Social and digital media have enormous potential to serve as catalysts for social change, and as a medium to share service stories with a wide audience. There is considerable untapped potential to increase awareness, foster collaborations, and build capacity within the non-profit sector in Canada to develop the community and further social and sustainable goals. Therefore, in partnership with bc211, I co-founded the Digital Storytelling Project which uses video and digital technology to increase public awareness and ease of accessing essential community services. My personal experiences as a young immigrant have my fuelled my efforts to bring about positive social change to support these vulnerable groups in Vancouver and strengthen my community by increasing the capacity of the non-profit sector.

Actions

Since I was 15, I have collaborated with over 20 different community-based organisations and non-profits across the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and Richmond that address needs of at-risk communities. I began fundraising for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank which provides meals to those in need in a self-directed and dignified manner. I volunteered for non-profit initiatives like Super Science Club, which aims to inspire socioeconomically at-risk children to develop a long-term interest in science and technology. I partnered with YWCA to provide mentors and positive role models to young boys and girls. I worked with organisations that addressed issues of unemployment, mental health, eating disorders, and LGBTQ rights.
I also co-founded the Digital Storytelling Project as an initiative to generate rich digital outreach content for local non-profits. Developed as a small scale collaboration across the Vancouver and Lower Mainland community, this project was supported by the University of British Columbia, student volunteers and featured 9 community-based organisations in filmed interviews. Through this project I interviewed the Executive Director of QMUNITY to raise awareness about the challenges of converting legal equalities into lived equalities for LGBTQ communities. I interviewed VLMMFSS to raise awareness about violence against immigrant and minority women, I interviewed the Richmond Youth Service Agency to increase awareness about youth unemployment, I emphasised the importance of mentorship through interviews with Big Sisters and Big Brothers. I interviewed Seniors Come Share Society to draw attention to the challenges faced by seniors and their caregivers and I featured Positive Living to support individuals living with HIV-AIDS in British Columbia.