Introducing Aditya Mohan, Ishita Aggarwal, and Midia Shikh Hassan
Each week we are introducing you to the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders, sharing their stories and celebrating the incredible work that they are doing in their communities. Take a look at last weeks post featuring Yi Jun Mock from Singapore, Bhagya Wijayawardane from Sri Lanka, and Ronelle King from Barbados.
This week we are getting to know our Canadian winners, Aditya Mohan, Ishita Aggarwale, and Midia Shikh Hassan.
Aditya from Canada
Aditya is a scientist looking for new ways to fight cancer. His interest in medicine began when he was a child. By the age of 15, he had already begun to study cellular interactions in chronic diseases such as HIV.
Aditya then transferred to cancer research, specifically seeking to understand whether the manipulation of viruses like the common cold could be used to target tumours and whether the body’s immune system can be trained to recognise and kill cancer cells. He is now conducting pre-clinical trials in research labs to explore this.
Aditya is also the co-founder and co-president of Project Pulse Spark, an annual healthcare conference in Ottawa, which attracts over 1,000 high school and university students. Aditya and his team use the conference to inspire students to pursue careers in the medical industry.
“I am very honoured and ecstatic to have been chosen as a Queen’s Young Leader. I am very excited to meet all the other Award winners and be part of a special network of individuals who are making a difference in the global community.”
Ishita from Canada
She is the founder of Mom’s The Word (MTW), a non-profit organisation that hosts free prenatal workshops for pregnant women who have a low income or who are homeless, to fight ill-health, illiteracy, maternal poverty and infant morbidity. Doctors and counsellors refer participants to MTW, and women who complete the programme receive food stamps, milk coupons, bus tokens and/or prenatal vitamins in return. Since its inception in 2016, MTW has raised $100,000 and hosted more than 60 workshops for 750 women. Staff also run monthly Safe Sex Talks, which have reached more than 93,000 people.
In addition, Ishita and her team have launched Pro-Bono Healers (PBH), a service which links sexual abuse and rape victims with obstetrician-gynaecologists and therapists. To date, PBH has helped over 215 girls and women access services including HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing, birth control and counselling.
“I am very honoured and grateful to be chosen as a recipient of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. I am looking forward to learning from exceptional young leaders from across the Commonwealth and visiting a variety of organisations with an expertise in social justice. Through this experience, I hope to better develop my leadership skills and ultimately, further my work.”
Midia from Canada
After moving to Canada, she set up The Refugee Outreach Programme in Ottawa, which aims to encourage entrepreneurialism within the refugee community. She has also established a social venture called Dextra, which uses 3D printing to provide upper body prosthetics to refugees in refugee camps. By using this technique, she and her team are able to produce the limbs for $20, rather than the usual cost of $2,000 to $20,000.
In addition, Midia has started a programme at the University of Ottawa to help students identify social issues in the community and create solutions for them. More than 300 students have accessed the programme.
“I’m extremely honoured and delighted to have been chosen to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. It is an amazing opportunity and honour to be part of this group of young difference makers. I am looking forward to meeting all the other Award winners and getting to know them and their amazing work. I am also excited to discover ways in which I can collaborate with other Award winners to magnify our impact globally.”