(Photo courtesy of Jaggo)
Valencia High School

Column: My experience creating a Jaggo, a nonprofit to empower women

Have you ever pondered upon the fact that in every STEM-related workforce, it is just a mere coincidence that men dominate it? How come when we walk into the doors of a doctor’s office, dentistry, IT companies, corporate businesses or even clinical labs, we are greeted with the face of a male.

Though our nation has developed in terms of women’s progression, there is still an abundance of men within the STEM field and little to no women. Our nation has some inherent flaws at its roots and the stereotypical gender disparities still remain.

Women are capable of the same intensity of work as men and I will never understand why this stereotype came about or why it still remains.

Through one of my English courses in high school, my instructor taught me a valuable life lesson: “silence perpetuates violence.” Initially, the saying carried no significance to me, I was perplexed to realize that it is occurring in our everyday life. Our silence does not necessarily instigate violence but it merely acquiesces the statement that women are inferior to men.

Why is it that we give in to gender stereotypes without making an effort to alter this perception so we can integrate ourselves into the workforce?

In 2018, Jaggo was established, a student-run nonprofit organization, founded by myself.

Jaggo serves to build a sense of awareness in supporting individuals and communities who fall victim to domestic/social abuse as well as discrimination within employment. We have been building personal connections with victims through our digital application MeTooIndia which leverages a platform for victims of abuse or gender stereotypes to share their enlightening stories with people in the same shoes.

Additionally, civilians will be able to receive proper guidance from NGOs, media and law/administration authority in a “safer” forum than Twitter. We will also aid our local community through student-led donations, service initiatives and fundraisers for the receiving women shelter.

Over the past two years, Jaggo has collaborated with over 10 NGOs within India to collaborate with victims of abuse and impart our wisdom on how to address their personal complications. I have conducted two trips to India to visit the outskirts of the main city where my parents were born. We worked hands-on with empowering women within communities that are unaware of the privileges they are entitled to.

It was truly a rewarding experience to see the smiles on the face of the women’s lives we touched and at this point I realized even a minimalistic effort from a high school student can change the world.

I recount telling my mom and dad on the airplane back home: “We are so privileged that we don’t even realize it. We must use our privilege to aid those who are not and be empathetic.”

And so, I decided, let’s branch out and wondered how can I help women locally?

After months of planning, investments and networking, I decided to open up Jaggo to other high school students and allow them to start their individual chapters at their local high school.

Unlike any other volunteer organization, we not only raise awareness through our social media outlets but also take on actions whether within our global and local communities. Donations, student-run service projects and fundraisers not only allow students to gain more leadership experience but teach them the privileges we must share with our community.

Jaggo plans to open ten high school chapters across Southern California including Valencia, Yorba Linda, Canyon, El Dorado, King, Chino Hills, Southwest, Northwood, La Mirada and Trabuco Hills. Each school’s unique factors in terms of academics, diversity, socioeconomic status and personalities will serve as an asset to the Jaggo team.

The student leaders of each chapter will conduct monthly conferences to coordinate future events/fundraisers. With the guidance of the executive board of our nonprofit and continuous meetings, each chapter will be able to provide their own insight, experience, skills and motivations to the table to help Jaggo expand and succeed

Not only is this a great experience for chapter leaders to gain multidimensional leadership experience and lead their own initiatives in fundraising or coordinating service events, but also to make a long-lasting impact on the community. Together we can unite to defeat the gender norms once and for all and fulfill our duty of utilizing our voice for the voiceless.

Jaggo is so excited to expand its horizon and welcome new members.

To learn more about Jaggo or engage yourself within our nonprofit, check jaggo.org, email contact@jaggo.org, check out our Instagram page @jaggo_org and stay tuned for updates at linktr.ee/jaggo.