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Creating Impact through Inclusion; A Millennium Fellow's Experience

“Seeing the world through rainbow-tinted lenses instead of just pink and blue-tinted ones. It makes the world a little more colorful than before, a little kinder“

A Blog by Aaratrika Santra


"Some people are driven by a desire to make a positive impact on society, while others may be driven by a sense of purpose or responsibility to make the world a better place and to make a difference. I didn’t start my project to make the world a better place or to make an impact. I started it after venturing into the journey of studying the gender spectrum and discovered the confusion and apprehension people have regarding the subject, and how lonesome things can get for those grappling with identity. Throughout the process of building my project, Project Alexis, in the Millennium Fellowship community, I learnt that there are other young people out there willing to help make a difference in the world. It showed me that I could be a part of something bigger than myself.

Before the Fellowship, I had never imagined that something could come out of this, that this idea of mine could create change. The Millennium Fellowship helped in the transition from just a vision to a project. 

Gender dysphoria, more often than not, can lead to depression and anxiety. This world is not receptive. Even though I had never struggled with gender identity myself, I resonate with the feeling of being alone. We have all felt like we were spiraling and stranded. That is the beauty of humanity, one doesn’t need to be a part of a specific community to help others not to feel alone. Loneliness is something that all of us have dealt with at some point.

Project Alexis is an attempt to provide a safe space for people battling mental health issues due to dysphoria. Sexual orientation and gender identity are integral aspects of our selves and should never lead to discrimination or abuse. In a world that may seem strange or has made them feel ostracized, self-acceptance is important. And only with acceptance can one focus on equality. How can one fight for equality or believe that they deserve equality, when one cannot accept themselves as they are? In this world which views everything through heteronormative lenses, misinformation and misconceptions are rampant. The baseline division which classifies something as masculine and feminine creates confusion and a sense of insecurity. Admittedly, the world has gone through changes and this issue has been noted and accepted; with more and more people now coming out of their shell and removing the lenses but it is far from being over. Misinformation about gender-identity is rampant which has created confusion and more questions than answers. health. Project Alexis is a way to provide correct information through articles, stories, art, craft, posters and many other ways to battle misinformation and help one feel comfortable in their own skin; it is about not making one feel alone and feel that there are others out there. There is a spectrum out there, colours of rainbow- not just pink and blue.

This project began because of my conviction that the movement for gender equality can only be achieved by accepting one’s gender identity. Empowerment comes from self-acceptance, from a belief in oneself and one’s abilities. The project is a way to raise awareness, provide people correct information to understand and accept those with gender dysphoria, and a safe place to express themselves through forms of art like poems, stories, and paintings.

Empowerment comes from self-acceptance, from a belief in oneself and one’s abilities. 

The Millennium Fellowship allowed me to actualize my project and gave me the foundation and exposure I needed. In the course of the semester, I have realized the power I have as a young person. In away it also gave me deep faith in my generation - seeing a movement of thousands of hopeful and motivated peers does that.

The Millennium Fellowship has played a very important role in 'awakening' my inner drive and turning it into reality. It helped me begin my exploration of SDG 5, pushing for the inclusion of all genders, beyond the binary, with special emphasis on providing help to those battling mental health issues on account of dysphoria. This was the starting point of my journey toward social impact, leadership, and community development. I am grateful to the program for setting me on the road of social impact and making me a part of something bigger."


About Me

Aaratrika Santra is a third-year student studying Computer Science and Engineering at XIM University. A Data Science and Analytics enthusiast, she is very interested in the power of data in this increasingly data-driven world and how it can be harnessed. She is passionate about forgoing labels and reducing boundaries, hoping for a world that is kinder to those they consider different. She juggles the relationship of being a whimsical writer with the cold logic of science. Her journey of social impact started with Project Alexis. Project Alexis is a way to offer a silent shoulder to rest and a helping hand for those who feel different. Sexual orientation and gender identity are integral aspects of ourselves and should never lead to discrimination or abuse. She firmly believes that only with acceptance can one focus on equality.


Thank you Aaratrika for sharing your project. Alumni, if you'd like to share your story with the community, email Team MCN here:

1 Comment

Jun 13


Am in it

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