A GEMS Wellington International School student, 15-year-old Suhani Mukherjee has had a passion for arts and crafts ever since she could "hold a pencil on my own". When she was around 9 years old, she would make bracelets and rings using small rubber bands and was happy to give them away to friends and relatives. "I was reintroduced to handmade jewellery making during the pandemic," says Suhani, who also has a deep interest in entrepreneurship. Sparked by the latest trends for chunky jewellery, the Dubai student began creating pieces "with my own designs that were unique".

Finding them to be a huge success, Suhani decided to share her skills with others and signed up to conduct an art workshop for a student-based NGO in India. There she taught around 100 students and senior citizens Mandala art.

On the academic side, to sharpen her entrepreneurial skills, Suhani completed a competitive summer program in business management with Berkeley Business Academy for the Youth – a program which admits only 50 high school students internationally. "Here I met a diverse range of students and learned about entrepreneurship and leadership."

Suhani has also completed her Grade 7 Rock and Pop Vocals exam with Trinity School of Music and received a Merit in her exam.

Tell us about the workshop you conducted.

Paint for Change, a charity organisation, reached out to me through my social media accounts where I actively display and market my artwork. They asked me if I would be willing to help them out by taking classes for them so they could raise funds for their cause. This student-run organisation based in India helps provide art supplies to underprivileged kids to support their talent. I was very happy and agreed.

What did you learn from the experience?

This was the first time I taught such a large batch of students, and this experience gave me the push to step out of my comfort zone and try new ways to use my skill in art, to make a difference in somebody’s life and give back to the community.

Your advice to students who would like to get involved in such initiatives?

Be passionate about the field that you want to contribute to.

What did you learn during the program at Berkeley Business Academy?

At the program, we heard corporate guest speakers share their wisdom and real-world experiences which gave us great insights into their fields of work. It taught me to learn from their successes and their mistakes. It helped me build confidence and learn about my strengths through teamwork.

A major eye-opener for me was that all of our projects were focused around the solutions we provided and the social impact each team had. This showed me that each one of us was so much more capable of creating an impact on our world than we thought. I learnt the importance of leading ethically and responsibly, and how I could apply the day-to-day working within a business, which influenced me to be even more socially responsible.

This program helped me enhance my communication and oral presentation skills by actively pushing me to put myself out there, through which I learnt to communicate more clearly.

What are your plans for your higher studies?

I wish to major in business management and minor in art, while also taking classes on subjects that interest me like philosophy or psychology. My projects have given me a new perspective in various fields as well as some hands-on experience, which will hopefully give me a better idea on what I want to do in the future.

Visit haleeducation.com to learn more.

Anand Raj OK

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