Akarsh Shroff, the founder of S.P.A.R.K, won the United Nations V-Award in the Education category for the work done by his organisation on societal upliftment and helping underprivileged students in December.
V-Awards is an initiative by the UN Volunteers India, which aims to celebrate 10 extraordinary young people under the age of 30 who work to change the lives of communities around them through their acts of volunteerism.
YuvaSpark, a Bengaluru-based NGO co-founded by Shroff, has impacted more than 82,000 people across eight districts in three states of India through its education and COVID-19 relief programmes. The award was conferred to Akarsh in an online ceremony presided over by the Minister of State for the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Secretary (Youth Affairs) and Joint Secretary (Youth Affairs), among others.
Akarsh Shroff has also bagged awards, Forbes India Teenpreneur, Ashoka Young Changemaker, Diana Awardee, and BITS Alumni Association’s Social Leadership Award. Presently, his NGO operates in 11 locations in Karnataka and works with orphans and the underprivileged. The NGO was able to raise Rs.40,00,000 during the two waves of Covid-19. Students from more than 20 universities donated nominal amounts to help underprivileged children. Apart from this, they also received equipment worth Rs.17,00,000 with partnerships from other foundations like BITsian NGO, corporate companies, and others.
In March 2020, Akarsh Shroff applied for the Ashoka Young Changemakers programme and was among the 19 candidates shortlisted. “I met many changemakers who were working for various social issues and were trying to make an impact. We learnt how the government and other stakeholders collaborate to solve these issues,” says the 21-year-old.