Meet 11YO Taniya Begum from Hyderabad who dreams of making India drug-free

Taniya attends various events across Hyderabad and conducts awareness campaigns to stop drug abuse.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  20 March 2022 7:32 AM GMT
Meet 11YO Taniya Begum from Hyderabad who dreams of making India drug-free

Hyderabad: When we talk to Taniya Begum from Hyderabad, one of the youngest social activists in the country, we tend to forget her age because of the sheer determination in her voice and her mission – to create a drug-free India.

The 11-year-old Taniya Begum is the junior ambassador of the Drug-Free World India (DFWI) foundation. She attends various events across Hyderabad and conducts awareness campaigns to stop drug abuse. So far, she has distributed around 38,000 booklets on 'finding out the truth about drugs' prepared by DFWI and has conducted campaigns in over 100 events across the city to raise awareness about various social issues, primarily drug abuse.

Taniya's father Sheikh Salahuddin, who is also an activist primarily working on water conservation, has been her biggest inspiration. As a three-year-old, Taniya accompanied her father to events and observed how he campaigned on various issues. Slowly she started carrying placards with small messages to these events. "Initially, seeing the wastage of water in my neighbourhood, I used to talk to people about that. Later, I realised how people were getting attracted to drugs through the internet, TV, and social media. I then decided to work on that," says Taniya, a student of Hymavathi school in Amberpet.

When Taniya was studying in another school in Azad Nagar two years ago, she closed down a drug shop operating in front of her school. "Mujhe laga mere school ke samne yeh sab nahi hone hai (I felt such things shouldn't happen in front of my school). Students shouldn't get attracted to it. I went along with my friends and talked to the shopkeeper. After four days, the shop was shut down," Taniya proudly says.

In another incident, while returning home from an event, Taniya saw a man fall down after consuming drugs. "I gave him some water and explained to him the problems of using drugs. He quit his habit soon," says Taniya.

Taniya says her main motive is "logon ko samjhana" and she relentlessly works towards it. "Mere activities ko kuch logo acche responses dete hain, aur kuch log bure response. Un bure responses dene wale logon se mujhe acchi tharah baat karke use samjhana hai (I get good and bad responses for my activities, but I need to talk to the people who give bad responses and make them understand)," adds Taniya.

Recently, on 6 March, Taniya took part in the Gender Equality Run organised by the SHE Teams in Hyderabad. The Hyderabad commissioner of police, C.V Anand, appreciated Taniya for her activities.

Taniya is very clear about her ultimate objective – to drive out drugs from the country. Till then, I will keep fighting, says Taniya.

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