13-year-old school girl's app to fight bullying in schools lands Rs 50 lakh funding offer

The 'Anti Bullying Squad (ABS)', with help from educational institutions, social organisations and experts, has positively impacted over 2,000 students from over 100 schools and universities.
Representational Image. (File | AP)
Representational Image. (File | AP)

GURUGRAM: The sight of a fellow student being mocked during a school function five years ago is etched deep in Anoushka Jolly's memories.

But for this 13-year-old, that incident became the push to start a social initiative to stop bullying and provide a platform for students as wells as parents to report anonymously.

The 'Anti Bullying Squad (ABS)', with help from educational institutions, social organisations and experts, has positively impacted over 2,000 students from over 100 schools and universities, said Jolly as she spoke about the digital platform, she formed three years ago.

The Class 8 student has also come up with a mobile application called 'Kavach' and it allows students and parents to report incidents of bullying anonymously, giving opportunity to schools and counsellors to tactfully intervene and take action.

The incident of the girl being bullied "got registered in my memory and I still cannot forget her face", she was terrified and felt helpless, said Jolly, who was nine years old then.

"I was attending the school annual day when my friends decided to bully the six-year-old girl who they found annoying. They walked up to her and started calling her names and laughed at her," she said.

"Soon, I realised how common the problem is and saw many other children of my age being victims of bullying and losing confidence," said Jolly whose social initiative not only made her the youngest contestant to pitch her entrepreneurial idea on TV reality show Shark Tank India but also landed her a funding offer of Rs 50 lakh.

The Pathways School, Gurugram, student wants to build a strong network of anti-bullying ambassadors, who will track the progress of those impacted directly or indirectly through the platform and application.

"I have been running the ABS digital platform for over three years with an aim of spreading awareness about bullying which leaves many scarred and desolated. The platform acts as a community where specialists come together to organise one-on-one sessions in schools against bullying," Jolly told PTI.

The platform also allows people to better understand bullying and its consequences, along with taking a pledge to prevent the menace, she said, adding that it also sells anti-bullying merchandise.

"However, during the process, I realised that most of these incidents do not get reported and hence, do not get resolved. So, I came up with an idea of creating a bullying reporting mobile app 'Kavach' to anonymously report incidents," Jolly said.

"The idea was well received by judges of (Shark Tank), two of whom even stepped forward to invest in my app at Rs 50 lakh in valuation to help me widen its scale and reach," she said.

Shark Tank India is the indigenous version of Shark Tank, a global entrepreneurial reality show.

In India, the show is currently running its first season and has selected 198 candidates out of 50,000 applications The investors in Jolly's idea are Anupam Mittal, founder and CEO of People Group (Shaadi.com) and Aman Gupta, co-founder of boAt.

Daughter of a chartered accountant and an entrepreneur, Jolly has plans to take her entrepreneurial journey forward.

However, she is yet to decide the subjects she would like to study once she finishes school.

"But I wish to become an entrepreneur only, I will take this initiative forward. For now, I am looking forward to launching 'Kavach', to reach more children and hold webinars and talks all across the country as well as the world to propagate the anti-bullying message," Jolly said.

Congratulating her, Capt Rohit Sen Bajaj, Director, Pathways School, Gurugram, said, "We take immense pride in spirit and passion of Anoushka Jolly whose work towards eliminating bullying in schools and campuses is not only educating many about the issue but also empowering young and old to stand up for themselves and for others".

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The New Indian Express