Rohan Satish Kodag is a 16 years old environmentalist from Pune. He has been working with Eco-Logic Foundation (ELF) for 5 years actively. He likes to help people and bring positive changes in society and the country. In the future, He wants to be an architect and build beautiful houses with waste material.
Currently, he is actively working for the communities that have been hit badly by the COVID-19. He has been distributing PPE kits and ration kits with ELF to the needy ones. In which, Till date, they have already distributed more than 1500 PPE kits to hospitals and front-line workers and more than 4000 dry ration kits to different communities. He helps in training, preparing safety kits, hygiene kits, and back end work required for ELF.
He is one of the Finalists of Wai Wai Glocal Teen Hero India 2020. We had a few conversations with him regarding his projects. The major highlights of the interview are given below;
How was your experience when you were announced as Top 6 Finalist of Wai Wai Glocal Teen Hero India?
When I started filling the form of Wai Wai Glocal Teen Hero, I started it because there was nothing more important to do. I didn’t know that there were more than 100 applications. Later, when I got to know that I was selected as the top 6 finalists, I was too happy and overjoyed. That time I got to know that I was selected from more than 100 students all over the country. And this selection made me take it seriously. I was overwhelmed, this gave my work meaning because it was GTH who selected me by recognizing my work. This experience made me take things positively and more seriously. I had never participated in such national competitions or initiatives. I want to work for the people and the environment. GTH gave me this opportunity and platform to promote myself and I am very thankful to GTH and CYDA.
What has inspired you to become an Environmentalist? When did you first step into this field?
I call myself a Passionate Volunteer. Since my childhood, I have been working with the Eco-Logic Foundation. I started by helping the NGO with small and minor things. Slowly I started working with them on different projects. The satisfaction, happiness, and appreciation which I received by looking at the smile of the people, attracted me towards this field. And today I am an active volunteer of the Eco-Logic Foundation. When I saw the attitude of people towards the environment or nature, I was hurt deeply and felt very bad that we have such an attitude of people and was ashamed. This incident pulled me into this field to create sensitivity in people towards the environment.
As you want to be an Architect in future and build beautiful houses by using waste materials. So, what inspired you to be an Architect?
I think this ability was in me since my childhood. When I was very young, I was very fond of playing with Lego. I used to make very different and complex structures from a very limited stock. I always liked to do models of different buildings, like making ‘Killa’ on Diwali all alone, making Ganpati and other pooja idols from soil and mud, etc. From all these activities my mother recognized my skill, passion, and design sense as she is an architect by profession. She inspired me to enter into the field of Architecture. Till then even I realized that I have a passion in this field and I had confidence in myself that I can do good in this field. I have travelled from a young age and everywhere I am fascinated by the houses, palaces, forts, especially the houses in villages. This inspires me to design spaces and be an Architect.
Your challenges in the journey? And how did you overcome these challenges?
Yes, I faced many challenges in the journey. When I was small I used to work with the Eco-Logic Foundation and also initiated many programs. But I was never taken seriously, and some used to laugh at my ideas. Sometimes I was looked upon like a miscellaneous helper. These incidences hit my confidence sometimes. In the COVID-19 pandemic, I was in 10th std. Because of the pandemic, I was not sent out on the field also I had to manage volunteering with my studies and sports. But my family supported me. While other students and teenagers were fussy, I was working at the forefront to help others. I worked and improved on myself, my confidence and now it has become my skill to make people laugh and this has made me reach another level than where I was. Taking a humoristic approach and creating good relations with teammates by being humble I overcame my challenges.
What are your plans?
In the future, I want to be a successful Architect, but happy and satisfied with my work. I don’t want to stop at any age, at any moment. I just want to keep working for the people and the environment. I want to travel all over the world and work wherever I can. I want to become an architect and work worldwide. I want to create a positive and considerable change between the current environmental situation and 20 years later. I want to motivate and create awareness in people for the environment so they respect the environment and stay in harmony with nature instead of unnecessarily challenging it.
What is your message to the teenagers?
Instead of a message, it would be my humble request to the teenagers and kindly start loving and living in harmony with nature. Never overuse and waste resources. Start spreading awareness in your surroundings and don’t let anyone take the wrong steps. Raise your voice politely but persistently, towards negativities. Start participating in environmental activities. Start changing negative and exploiting thoughts from yourself and then change others. If a person can change 10 people, then the whole teenage youth can change the nation. We are the future of the country, show your nation the right path by aligning yourself to nature and the environment to support humanity. Our Earth can stay without human beings. It’s human beings who need earth to survive, lets us understand that and stop exploiting the earth’s resources for our greed. I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi’s statement ‘Earth gives us enough for our needs, not for our greed.’