Tenth-grader Diya Kohli, of Boca Raton, doesn’t just think about how she could change the world, she actually works toward it through a project she created through the International Baccalaureate program at Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach.
The 15-year-old created redoneitbydiya.com, a website that sells purses and bags made out of recycled denim. The bags are made by women in India who don’t have jobs and the proceeds are donated to Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in India.
“Denim usually ends up in landfills and it’s such a fashionable item so I decided to turn them into bags,” Kohli said. “I want to support women who are unemployed from India who need help and support cancer since a lot of people suffer from it; my grandma had it.”
She started the denim project last June for a school project and estimates she’s donated $2,000 so far.
The project is a requirement for all students in the IB program that starts in ninth grade and concludes in 10th grade, said Jean Parlamento, IB Middle Years program coordinator.
Students choose something they are interested in and take the skills learned from their classes and apply them to the project. The project is supposed to better themselves or better the community, Parlamento said.
“It’s nice in schools we’re able to give kids the resources to do this. Without the program, it probably wouldn’t have materialized. It gives kids the opportunity to get their feet wet for the future,” she said.
Kohli plans to continue designing after her 10th-grade year and make it a “lifelong” project, she said.
“My goals are to recycle more denim, to help the Earth, to empower more women, to help cancer patients who need help and expand globally. I want to have my name known internationally and sell internationally,” she said.
Besides selling the variety of bags on the website, which range in price from $20 to $35, Kohli also sells them through Instagram and at fashion exhibitions.
“She’s learned so much and grown so much. The project brought out the best in her. The achievement of donating the money gave her confidence, growth and maturity. I’m a real proud mom. She’s an upcoming entrepreneur,” said Kohli’s mother, Sapna Kohli.
Susan Zacharias, who oversees Kohli’s project, said her project serves as a good example for other students looking to create global projects.
“Other kids see this and think they can project this further to the community, the state, the continent. Global communities are just a click away,” she said. “We ask kids to act locally but think globally. She’s putting action in place, which is making a ripple effect.”
Diya Kohli plans to go into the medical field to help people with cancer, and she’s always looking to get more denim for her project.
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