We had the good fortune of connecting with Krisha Khandelwal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krisha, every day, we talk about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I vividly remember what it was like when I was being bullied back in 6th grade. My best friends were the ones who bullied me, and ostracized me from their group, and they made it really difficult for me to make new friends. This was so frustrating and scary, and I felt trapped and lonely. I really did not know how to get out of this terrifying situation, and I despised going to school. The only thing that got me out of that horrible situation was asking for help. Informing my parents and teachers, put an end to the bullying immediately. While I still did not have many people to talk to at school, I felt so much better knowing that I was not alone in facing the bullies. I was comforted by the fact that my parents and teachers had stood up for me, and had publicly called out the bullies for what they had done.
This one incident had really changed me. Even though they bullied me only for a few months, its consequences stayed with me for much longer. I became an introvert and I didn’t want to make friends anymore. But, when I started reading up on bullying and interacting with other victims, I realized that I was not alone and there were millions of people around the world who are silently suffering through this never-ending problem. Even in our modern, progressive society, bullying is often overlooked and commonly dismissed as a rite of passage, but it affects more than one-fifth of children at school and a similar number of adults at their workplace. I then started speaking out about my experience with bullying and ever since then I became an anti-bullying advocate.
In August 2020, I started my own non-profit organization called ‘Let’s Defeat Bullying’ with an aim to provide help to victims of bullying and those at risk of suicide. When I first started ‘Let’s Defeat Bullying’, I figured it would be a small blog with me posting bullying-related information on our social media accounts. I had never imagined that my organization would actually impact victims who were bullied, and expand to a team of 40+ passionate high schoolers from all over the world. Since our launch in August 2020, we have impacted 500+ victims of bullying and partnered with 30+ schools to provide a safer and anti-bullying school environment. This is just the beginning, and ‘Let’s Defeat Bullying’ has got a long way to go!
What’s the most rewarding aspect of starting your organization and what are some of the challenges?
The most rewarding aspect of founding Let’s Defeat Bullying is being able to see the outcome of my work, whether it’s hearing stories of victims of bullying who are inspired by the work that we do, or simply the fact that I am getting to help and make the lives better of so many people every day. And because of that, I feel the constant drive and motivation to do more.
However, my journey with ‘Let’s Defeat Bullying’ up till now has definitely not been smooth. There have been so many ups and downs and challenges along the way, the toughest of them being getting people to believe in the work that I do because of my age. A lot of people assume that I’m too young to be creating an impact. When you are a young person that wants to do something there will be so many people that try and block you, that try to put walls up in front of you and try and hurt your mission and that comes not only from adults but also people your own age. Never giving up and persevering and just keeping that mission in front of you is really important.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would definitely dedicate my shoutout to the book ‘Brave Not Perfect’ by Reshma Saujani. This book talks about how we should choose the braver path in every decision we face rather than trying to be perfect. This book struck a major chord for me and is another one of the things that pushed me to start my organization. It made me realize how insidious chasing perfection is and how all of us especially girls need to unlearn perfectionism and instead learn how to develop and flex our bravery muscles.