Dr Daksha Ramjawan is a highly accomplished young woman who's been recognised on a global level for her humanitarian work. She serves as an inspirational role model for South Africa's youth, particularly its girls and young women, by tackling head on the challenges associated with socio-economic development across the world.
Dr Daksha Ramjawan
Aside from her humanitarian work, she's also a budding entrepreneur, having recently launched a line of beauty and cosmetic products under her very own brand Taji.
This Youth Month, Ramjawan shared with us more about some her work and accomplishments, what keeps her motivated and inspired, and more on her role as national director of the International Youth Society South Africa.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.Dr Daksha Ramjawan:
I am the former Miss Gauteng 2019, an accomplished, renowned, formidable and well-respected multiple global award-winning entrepreneur and events manager at a large corporate.
I earned an Honorary Doctorate of Humanitarianism from the Global International Alliance University in the US, accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training Accreditation (IACET), for my humanitarian work across the globe. I am a youth ambassador for Ladies of All Nations International (LOANI UK), the largest women empowerment platform in the world, with representation in 155 countries. I am also the national director (South Africa) for the International Youth Society (IYS), with representation in over 140 countries.
As a director of the Famram Foundation
(family self-funded non-profit organisation), I am instrumental in empowering, uplifting and providing CSI solutions, enhancing socio-economic development. Nothing is too dangerous or too small for me to take on as I love challenges.
My philanthropic work spans across the globe and in 2019, I was invited by the Indian Dreams Foundation in Agra, India, to speak to the youth and women from the slums to provide a beacon of hope and to empower them.
I received my first global award at the Women Economic Forum (WEF), 'Young Leaders Creating a Better World for All', which was conferred in New Delhi in April 2018. I presented on youth empowerment at two sessions during the conference, on two different topics at the WEF.
I received another award in September 2018 from Ladies of All Nations International at their conference in Morocco. I was nominated by Round Table Global for 'Most Impactful Project' and received an award in Cape Town in November 2018. Later that month, I received an award from the Elite Ladies Club in Delhi, India, for recognising women across the globe, for being a great social activist and humanitarian.
In September 2020, I was one out of the five youths that received an award in the Best International Young Humanitarian category from ELS Edification Plus, UK. In March 2021, I received the Youth Entrepreneur Award from Every Girl Wins Institute, US.
In June 2021, I was accepted for the YALI RLC-SA English Online Cohort 12 Programme which will commences this month.
I believe in empowering the youth in the work that I undertake to enhance socio-economic development. I am a typical difference maker; transformational role model and the youth look up to me.
A special thank you to my mum, Shamila Ramjawan
, who as a single parent instilled good values in me, as well as being a great mentor. She has guided me on the right path and has taught me how to mentor other people.
Share with us more about some of your most current philanthropic and humanitarian endeavours.Ramjawan:
My monthly financial contribution into the Famram Foundation, a family self-funded foundation, ensures that it is sustainable to carry out the necessary projects. I am directly involved by handing out/training the youth on the PrincessD Menstrual Cup, owned by my mum and the product is named after me. It is a sustainable solution for menstruation because impoverished girls miss school for up to seven days in a month. The product changes lives as it is healthy, eco-friendly, hygienic and is reusable for 10 years.
My philanthropic and humanitarian work spans across all nine provinces in South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. I am now the youth co-host on the Red Corner Show, a global chat show that encourages others to share their inspiring stories.
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In the 21st century, humanity's challenges seem boundless. What keeps you motivated and hopeful?Ramjawan:
Everyone is motivated by different things. Understanding what motivates one can make the difference between success and failure. I believe that it is important to be mentally strong, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. I exercise frequently to reduce stress, anxiety and to boost my mood. It’s a lot easier to stick to my goals and aspirations when I am feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
I also believe in manifestation and meditating as this soothes and calms my mind.
In 2015, my mum gave me a gift of a lifetime for my birthday and that is the book The Secret
by Rhonda Byrne. It is a good book to read on how your thoughts are manifesting your desires. Whatever you want to achieve is possible by thinking the right thought. This secret is called law of attraction.
I take time regularly to talk about my goals and receive encouragement from the president of Ladies of All Nations International (LOANI UK), Prof Caroline Makaka, who is a great role model. She always boosts my confidence, gives me a fresh perspective, and helps me to maintain a sense of direction.
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Tell us more about your role as national director of the International Youth Society South Africa.Ramjawan:
The mission of the International Youth Society is: "Empowering and engaging young people in sustainable development, democracy and the values of the world". My role is to work together in the executive team on issues affecting youth employment, and other initiatives, and to come up with ideas and solutions to support all young people.
The primary objectives of the society are:
- To contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations by promoting mutual collaboration among young people, and working in partnership with state and non-state actors in order to empower the young people of the world, without distinction of race, ethnic origin, caste, colour, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, special needs, socio-economic status, marital status, language, religious belief or political opinion;
- To be a global platform which mainstreams young people into the work of the world at all levels; supporting and advocating for an enabling environment that facilitates the active participation and influence of young people in decision-making processes, and the consideration of youth-specific needs in all policy areas;
- To be a centre for mobilising, harmonising, formalising, recognising, legitimising, utilising, and prioritising the voices and actions of young people in the advancement of youth; and to be a unified voice for youth in the world; and to encourage and extend, as appropriate, assistance to whole world, in particular small states, in the promotion and acceleration of their youth development strategies;
- To advocate the inclusion, and encourage governments to include young people in delegations to international functions and as members of in particular, United Nations meetings; and to support young people’s participation in election observer missions;
- To be a centre for information on youth work and development, and accordingly collect, monitor, analyse and disseminate information including the exchange of experiences and best practices in youth-led development; and to provide a website, online resources and to create project plans and campaigns so that young people can be integral in the achievement of the United Nations youth development agenda and sustainable development; and
- To partner with other specialised organisations and agencies with a focus on youth development, to ensure a relevant, impactful and unified youth development agenda across the globe.
With the above, my main objective and task is to empower, inspire and support young people to become young professionals by joining the International Youth Society so that we can grow this global platform in South Africa.
You also recently put on an entrepreneurial hat and launched Taji, a line of beauty and cosmetic products. What has that journey been like so far?Ramjawan:
As a budding entrepreneur, I conceptualised and launched my own brand, called Taji
last year which has now gone global. Taji in Swahili means “crown” - all products are for the use of men and women with all skin types – thus being said, we all wear our invisible crowns. Taji is much more than a business venture and I believe it is becoming a healthy lifestyle choice.
A percentage of the sales goes into the Famram Foundation to assist the impoverished, especially orphans, who are close to my heart. I lost my father at the tender age of four due to a sudden heart attack and I fully understand the dilemma faced by these children.
While tackling all the difficulties during Covid, it has been extremely important to keep my energy barrels full. Despite working 24/7 sometimes, it becomes difficult to finish the required work. Therefore, self-care becomes very important. Without taking care of myself, I realised I won’t be able to take care of my business, my 9-5 commitments, family and many other things.
You recently received the Youth Entrepreneur Award from the International Every Girl Wins Institute. How important is a vibrant entrepreneurial community for a country like South Africa in driving youth empowerment?Ramjawan:
In March 2021, I was extremely lucky in winning the Youth Entrepreneur Award from the International Every Girl Wins Institute, US, founded by Dr Christine Kozachuk. With this award, I won a one-year business coaching scholarship.
This qualification will enable me to:
- Deal with challenges that are holding me back from being successful in my personal and professional life.
- Gain the knowledge to create a plan of action for my personal and professional goals.
- Learn how to collaborate and work as a team to create a project to effectively change climate control in my communities.
- Gain the knowledge to develop a short- and long-term personal budget.
- Gain the knowledge to create a winning business plan.
- Gain the knowledge to become self-sufficient.
- Become confident in myself.
Entrepreneurial learning for young people is hugely beneficial, in addition to finding out how to start a business. The youth need to acquire practical skills and positive attitudes, and this can be acquired from mentorship. A greater awareness of society, a sharpened appetite for active engagement, new competencies and confidence to play a part are added benefits and will ensure success.
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What is your message to the youth of SA this Youth Month?Ramjawan:
The year 2021 marks 45 years since the June 16 student uprising of 1976. The theme of this year’s Youth Month is - “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society”.
My message: Unemployment is on the rise and Covid-19 has taught us all how to be tech-savvy and how to adapt to new challenges. I urge all our youth to take advantage of free online courses available to them to attain their full potential and become entrepreneurial through innovation. “The big secret in life is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you're willing to work.”
~ Oprah Winfrey