Young Achievers

Rashi Singhal

Rashi Singhal (24) is founder-director of Vision Mission Foundation (VMF, estb. 2010), a Noida (Delhi NCR)-based NGO which offers screening, counselling and primary services to people afflicted with diabetes. Over the past two years, VMF has screened 35,000 people for diabetes — a condition affecting 51 million Indians according to the World Health Organi-sation — through a team of 20 health consultants in its Noida centre, camps and a mobile van which travels through Delhi’s NCR (national capital region) including Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, every day. For her efforts to spread awareness about this debilit-ating and often life-threatening meta-bolic disorder to a wider audience, Singhal was conferred the Young Achiever award of the Apollo Group of Hospitals in February.

A history graduate of Lady Sri Ram College, Delhi, Singhal has been committed to the cause of educating people about diabetes since age 15, when she was herself diagnosed with the disorder. “I had to change my lifestyle drastically and exercise great discipline to combat diabetes. But thanks to my parents and friends who have been a bedrock of support, I have managed to control my blood sugar levels and lead a normal life. However during this time, I became aware that people know very little about diabetes, its causes and effects, and that it can be controlled with strong determination if diagnosed early. This was the motivation behind VMF,” recalls Singhal.

Her ambition to establish a diabetes diagnostic centre was facilitated by Shakti Nath, managing director of the Noida-based real estate company Logix Group. A diabetic himself, Nath leased out a double-storied building at nominal rent to get VMF going. Currently, VMF offers free-of-charge diagnosis and consulting services — to people from economically weaker sections — in its Noida centre, through its mobile van and by way of conv-ening awareness camps in education institutions.

To attract and involve youth in this cause, VMF has also launched — a social networking platform — in November last year. To upgrade as a resource centre for diabetics, doctors and patients, the foundation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai.

“In the pipeline are telemedicine centres in resident welfare associations, corporate offices, schools and colleges as well as in rural areas, and additional mobile clinics. In our centres and mobile clinics, I will train volunteers and public health consultants so they can trans-form into diabetes educators. My most important objective is to educate people about how to live with diabetes. Diab-etics can live normal and comfortable lives. All they need to have is strong will power to change their lifestyles for the better, and make conscious efforts to remain absolutely fit,” says Singhal.

Power to your elbow!

Swati Roy (Delhi)

Diptayan Ghosh

He manages the king’s horses and men on the 1,500-year-old board of 64 squares with consummate ease. Young Diptayan Ghosh (14), a class IX student of South Point School, Kolkata is well on his way to becoming a name to be reckoned with in the world of chess. This winner of the Under-10 Asian title at the Youth Chess Championship 2008, held in Turkey, was designated FIDE Master by the World Chess Federation (Federation Internat-ionale des Echecs) in 2010 after winning the Asian U-12 Championship 2009.

Trained by International Master (IM) Shankar Roy and the Bangladeshi Grand Master Ziaur Rahman, Diptayan has started 2012 in style by scoring 7/11 in the 4th Chennai International Open (an IM norm), 7.5/11 at the 10th Parsvnath International Open held in Delhi (IM norm), and 5/9 at the Aeroflot Open B, accumulating 45 points in the bi-monthly rating period to become the second ranked Under-14 player in the world, behind Russian Vladislav Artemiev.

The only child of Sandip Kumar Ghosh, manager at Electro Care Sales, Kolkata and homemaker Aruna, this young whiz took to the chess board at age four. “In my early years, I was inspired by Magnus Carlsen, a Grand Master from Norway who became world No. 1 at the young age of 19. But my all-time favourite remains Vladimir Kramnik, the GM from Russia,” says Diptayan.

On March 1, his rating climbed to 2,372, making him the top-ranked Under-14 chess player in Asia. His teachers and parents have high hopes for his future and believe he will follow the winning example of world champion Viswa-nathan Anand. “I want to complete my remaining IM norms and become a GM soon,” says Diptayan with disarming simplicity. No couch potato, he is also into cycling and is a regular swimmer at the neighbouring Anderson Club, a popular hangout of competitive swimmers in Kolkata.

Unsurprisingly, Diptayan loves mathematics and plans to become a computer engineer after attaining GM status by 2014.

Baishali Mukherjee (Kolkata)