Global Citizen's Action Taker of the Week: Chaitanya Khanna From Toronto

Author: Meg Black

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizen is a movement of engaged citizens who use their collective voice to help end extreme poverty by 2030. On our platform, Global Citizens learn about the causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards. Join the movement and take action now.

Individual actions can — and do — change the world. That’s why taking action is at the heart of the Global Citizen movement.

The actions of Global Citizens across the globe have accumulated over the past decade to 25.3 million. Combined with high-level advocacy work, these actions have led to more than 100 commitments by world leaders aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2030.

This is all thanks to engaged action takers like Chaitanya Khanna.

Khanna has volunteered for the past three Global Citizen festivals in New York’s Central Park — but he's taken action to win tickets to the last five.

"For me, the festival has never been about the music and the performances, but about raising awareness about global issues. The experience of seeing world leaders and influencers come together with the Global Citizen organization has been enough of an incentive for me to travel every year from Toronto to New York City," he told Global Citizen. 

We spoke to Khanna to find out more about the issues that matter most to him and to do discuss how being a Global Citizen has changed his daily life.

When did you first become a Global Citizen?

I first became a Global Citizen on Sept. 26, 2015.

What made you decide to take action?

I strongly believe in education for all. Growing up in India, I have been a witness to many rural households where the children of the house, especially girls, are not educated beyond grade eight. These children are taken out of the education system to help provide for the rest of the family. Many of them work alongside their parents as household help. [The first action I took was to raise awareness for girls’ education] and it really spoke to me, as I had grown up seeing this issue firsthand.

What Global Citizen issue areas are you most interested in?

I am most interested in climate change, women empowerment, and education for all. For me, these global issues hold immense significance. In terms of climate change, I am appalled at the number of people, including US President Donald Trump, who still believe that climate change is all a hoax. Being a Global Citizen definitely helps in spreading awareness towards the glaring climate change situation and making people understand that a healthy planet will take care of its people and that nature will nurture. Improving the environment, and reducing the causes of climate change, [will] give people the change to survive and thrive in a healthier, safer world.

Girls and women are vital to creating better-educated, healthier, and sustainable communities. However, women are often not given equal rights and opportunities as men. They are confined within their houses and their intelligence is undermined. It has to be accepted that providing equal opportunity is not a benefit, but a fundamental right. And once given such opportunities, instead of victims, women can be powerful community leaders.

Has taking action with Global Citizen inspired you in your daily life? In what ways?

Global Citizen has really opened my eyes to the different issues around the world. Though I have grown up seeing some of the issues in my own community, it is heartbreaking to learn about similar or even worse situations in other places in the world. These experiences really inspired me to try to raise awareness on my own. My experience from my first Global Citizen Festival left such a lasting impact on my life that I wrote a blog post to share my experiences with the world. Moreover, taking actions has inspired me to talk about these issues in social gatherings to spread awareness among my family and friends.

Why do you think it’s important to take action on global issues?

Taking actions, such as calling out to world leaders and participating in events, all raise awareness about the global issues. With more people educated about the issues around the world, there is more support to improve these situations, creating a better tomorrow.

Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

"Action Taker of the Week" is a new Global Citizen series that focuses on the everyday Global Citizens taking action around the world. We’ll be featuring a Q&A with a new action taker every week. You can start taking action here.

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