Vardaan Shekhawat

Founder, Project uP​​

“Back in 2017, I was in a big dilemma as to what I wanted to do with my life. All my friends merely wanted better grades, a good job and then to settle in a good house with a nice family. This idea honestly did not appeal to me, as I wanted my final purpose in life to be something bigger than just having a good house and a nice car.
This question persisted so much that it gave me sleepless nights.

Later, I was selected for a research project that required me to work with children suffering from distinct degrees of PTSD and chronic illnesses like cancer, tuberculosis etc.

My work with the children changed my perspective of looking at everything and gave me a firm revelation that if I wish to bring some scaled impact, it can only be done by changing the lives of children. And when that project ended, one of the kids with cancer gifted me a self-made clay pot as a parting gift. Soon after this incident, that child passed away.

This was the moment I was determined that the rest of my life will be committed to caring, loving and uplifting child life. This burning sense of determination has been my greatest asset in making Project uP a reality, on ending my research project I started spending a lot of time in Urban Slums trying to understand the nuances and issues the people there face, so much so, that I ended up spending a night there as well, the more I experienced their lives, the harder the fire of determination burned.

And soon after I organized a team with similar ideals, we got to work, a lot of ups and downs came on the way but every time we made a child smile, heard his hopes and dreams for the future, we felt as if Project uP is a huge success. While there is a long, long way to go, I’m determined to be committed to the development sector, specifically children.

One learning through all this has been that no matter what you do, it’s the heart that matters!”


Yashveer Arya

Vice-President, Field Management

“Project UP, the name itself motivates us to go uP. But there are many untouched souls in our country who are not even aware of the common term of modernity. We are living in the web world and using many privileged gadgets to our liking, so is that it? Everyone is enjoying this relative happiness? 

No. The goal is not to provide desirable equipment to everyone there, but to make them realize that they are being able to achieve whatever they want without opening their hands to their fellow humans. The poor remain poor, thinking they have no choice but to beg, or do nothing. This mentality has been working in our country for centuries.

Project uP works closely in changing this negative perspective and we feel that if one gets quality mentoring, starting from their childhood, change can be brought. A child can be moulded in any way; it is up to the social workers (Social Heroes) of this country how they can rectify the situation with real ground effect. The beginning of every social venture is fraught with failures and difficulties, and so was Project uP’s, but our goal was not just going to the slums to teach the children and playing with them their favorite sport, but also to bring significant changes in their moral values and daily lives. It is useless to open books in front of them unless they are the ones who tell us what the importance of books is. 

We were clear with our values, and we always are. Our vision for the good of humanity is clear, just as a diamond can only be polished by another diamond, a human being can only be better served by another human being. The power of cohesion is the driving force for Project uP. It doesn’t matter how big our impact is, what matters is the steps we take for the benefit of others. Even if you make a child smile and their family happy, you are winning.
It’s the heart that matters!”

Diya Goswami

Executive Hiring and Academic Resources

“Project uP is not just a social enterprise to me, it is my safe-work-space, where I have witnessed the practice of human welfare. Ever since I’ve joined uP, I have learned some of the most important life lessons working on various projects, and seen how the intentions matter more than the efforts. 

On my field visits, I’ve encountered children with bare feet walking on twisted logs, shivering in the stone cold winter, missing out on studies to prepare the dinner, and struggling to see my face because of the smoke from firewood. Despite all of this, one thing that was common in all of the visits was their ever-smiling faces and warm greetings.

Talking to them and listening to their stories made me realize how privileged I am and how grateful I should be for the little things in my life. 

In my capacity as the Executive Hiring and Academic Resources, I will ensure to utilize all my resources and work as hard as I can, with all my heart and mind, to uP-lift those who are striving. I am really fortunate to work in the development sector along with like-minded people whose end-goal is to generate an actual impact, irrespective of its magnitude.”

Ishika Chauhan

Lead Research and Analysis

“Not everyday you stumble across people who purely thrive to bring forth change, and uP has such a team, whose dynamics make work seem effortless. It all started with the aim to make one child smile, then another and from then it has always gone uP. The kind of values we carry coupled with the work that we do is not based on one sided learning, rather each time we go to the field, we get to learn something new and that has shaped me as an individual. 

With the research that I pursue, the fact that every word that I write impacts the cycle of change keeps me driven. The heart to bring forth change coupled with the best set of people, for all the endless smiles and laughters, uP is more than an organisation to me,it is like home, something I’d always want to be a part of.”

Aakarsha Jagga

Chief of Content Strategy and Media

“I joined Project uP in the June of 2019, and to have seen it growing, to have seen Team uP reach where it is today, to be a part of this journey, and to know we’ve got a lot more milestones to cross, has been more beautiful than words can explain. 

We’ve together seen uPs and downs, but the smiles of the children we work for never fail to keep us motivated, thus always helping us to put things in place and to get a clearer perspective. 

Soon after I joined uP, we started Project Smile, with the aim of making at least one person smile. As the Chief of Content Strategy and Media, I apply the same principle to my work, to impact just one person with whatever we put out there.”

Aanchal Pundir

Associate Events and Design

“Someone’s heart isn’t something we need to work for. The heart chooses exactly what it wants, the work comes in maintaining the space we create for the person’s heart to reside and make them happy,  because it’s the heart that matters. I am blessed with such a strong  and supportive team at uP, where we collectively spread joy and happiness to bring sparkle in the eyes of people and children and see them grow by creating that environment for them because ALL SMILES HERE.”