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March 18, 2016

Neha Dhupia on Driving The Change

Text by Wyanet Vaz

“Every single child matters, every child needs to be given access to education.” Neha Dhupia talks about her new initiative, and inspirations she has picked up along the way

Partnering with Teach For India through Kiehl’s Limited Edition Project, Neha Dhupia is enthusiastic about this noble cause. As part of the project, Kiehl’s aims to initiate a generous amount through the sales of their best selling product – the Ultra Facial Cream. The former Miss India, along with the kids, designed the complete packaging, and the actress talks to us about this experience and about how one can do more than just buy the product.       

What was your first reaction to the Kiehl’s and Teach For India campaign?

“At first I felt incredibly lucky that my family, especially my parents, have supported me and have contributed to getting me where I am today. We do not get to choose the family that we are born into. But the family that a child is born into should not determine his/her destiny. Each child could become an astronaut, a scientist, an artist – a change-maker, a contributor to building a strong India. This is what an organisation like Teach for India works towards: an India where all children have access to excellent education. Going forward, I was most happy to give my time and resources to help raise awareness for this cause.”

How was it working with kids to design the packaging for Kiehl’s?

“I haven’t been a part of Teach For India prior to the Kiehl’s Limited Edition Project. But through the label design for the Ultra Facial Cream and the photo shoot, I got the chance to interact and spend some quality time with the kids and it was absolutely wonderful.”

What according to you, does the packaging symbolise?

“As children, most of us have been fascinated with the colour, the liveliness and the elusive charm of butterflies. Of all our baby-sketches on paper, some of the first ones would include butterflies. A butterfly takes to the skies in the same manner as a child lives up to his/her potential – all of them chart their distinctive individual course, but each of them is born to soar. The fluid seemingly-easy journey that is a butterfly’s life, characterised by the playfulness of children, has been the inspiration for the Limited Edition label for the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream.”

After meeting with the kids, what did you take home?

“Every single child matters, every child needs to be given access to education. But to ensure that all children are covered, what we need as a country is a committed rung of leaders who will make this happen. While I always knew of Kiehl’s longstanding commitment to the communities where its customers live, I now see for myself the positive change that can be brought about by just one organisation that decides to genuinely go out of its way to improve the quality of the community it serves. Of course, I have the deepest admiration for the fellows at Teach For India and how they tirelessly work towards bridging the gap in education. My biggest take-away from this experience has been the optimistic sense of possibility.”

What do you expect out of this campaign?

“The fact that no matter how small the step, every single contribution counts. Each of us, in our individual capacity, can impact our community to change for the better.”

What are the other concerns worth fighting for?

“Women Empowerment. In the simplest of words, it is basically important for the creation of an environment where women can make independent decisions as well as shine as equals in this society. It’s another cause that is very close to my heart.”

Besides buying the product, what else can a reader do for children’s education?

“I think everyone in our country and all over the world should understand that education can single handedly take a nation forward. Spreading the message is very essential in order to understand and handle the various problems our nation faces. So if I can spread the word and help change the mind of even a few people, I am sure the thousands of voices out there can also do the same.”

What are you looking forward to in 2016?

“I am hoping that the Kiehl’s Limited Edition Project has a huge positive impact; setting the tone for 2016 being the year of development for youth and our nation. Other than that, I am currently travelling, shooting for MTV Roadies 4. It’s extremely exciting, given that I have never been on a reality TV show before. I also have two upcoming films, Santa Banta and Moh Maya Money that I am really looking forward to.”

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