Taha Fathima Khan

International Diana Award

Taha founded social-media campaign, Search for Thamana, a platform to find missing children, and highlight children’s rights issues that was originally created to find a five year old girl who was kidnapped from a beach in Chennai, India. Taha also campaigns for female health education, volunteers with Parkinson’s patients, and teaches health and English to Burmese refugee children, all while being a full time medical student.

I’m Taha, a 19 year-old medical student. I received the International Diana Award in 2012, for founding a social-media based community, Search For Thamana, in 2011, to trace a 5 year-old girl who was kidnapped from a beach in Chennai. Thamana was found 8 days later, mysteriously abandoned, in a hospital. She was thought to be a victim of child-trafficking. The stir created by the Facebook page (facebook.com/Search4Thamana) has been credited in finding her. Rather than dissolve the page, I chose to use to it to post about other missing kids. Eventually, I began addressing other issues such as child abuse, child labour, bullying and everything else that impinges children’s rights.

It’s been over 4 years since the creation of Search For Thamana and I’m proud to say that the cause has been reaching far and wide. I have started a Twibbon campaign (http://twibbon.com/support/childproofingtheworld/twitter) and a hashtag (#ChildProofingTheWorld) on Twitter (twitter.com/Search4Thamana) in an attempt to highlight issues affecting children worldwide. I am also working on developing an app to help missing kids (which is taking a while, considering I lack skills in coding)!

Additionally, I engage in various other voluntary activities such as planning lessons and teaching english to Burmese refugee children. I recently headed a female health education project in a children’s home to promote menstrual hygiene and remove the stigma surrounding it. I have also volunteered with Parkinson’s patients and fundraised and partaken in a health-screening & promotion project in a village. In recognition for the above, I was awarded the Voluntary Service Certificate of Excellence by my university.

I want to thank Diana Award for making me believe that no initiative is too small to bring about a change; increasing my passion to give back to society; and being the change I wish to see.

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