Writing for Change
By Surya Mehta
Natassha Selvaraj, a 15-year-old girl from Malaysia, has impacted many young girls through her determination for change. Her project, Book A Life, offers donations to a charity that helps young girls in Nepal escape brothels and other sex-trafficking homes. With her love and her hope for a better future, Selvaraj serves as an inspiration for young women around the world.
At just nine years old, Selvaraj wrote her first book, Wizard Willy and other Magical Tales. This brief work tells mystical tales from an imaginary land, all created by Selvaraj’s imagination. With the help of her parents and her aunt, she published an ebook filled with illustrations and stories. Selvaraj describes that, “I’d always loved reading and writing as a young girl. I would constantly write down random ideas on paper.” When her writing became more sophisticated, her parents and teachers encouraged her to produce stories.
As Selvaraj’s passion for writing blossomed, so did her knowledge of the world around her. Selvaraj not only learned of the wonders of the world, but also of the horrors. One day, her father told her about the existence of child trafficking around the world. Horrified by the thought, Selvaraj researched more about the topic. She discovered startling information about how common child trafficking cases are in many countries, especially Nepal. Selvaraj was shocked that such a massive issue had such little awareness brought to it. While researching child trafficking, Selvaraj found herself overwhelmingly interested by the victims’ points of view. As a young girl herself, Selvaraj empathized with the girl victims, explaining that “in many situations, the victim doesn’t even know what happened. Her mom slips something in her food, and when she wakes up, she’s somewhere else.” Having learned of the child trafficking crisis around her, Selvaraj decided to take action.
As Selvaraj grew older, she decided to combine her passion of writing with her determination for change. Her new motivation brought Selvaraj to put Wizard Willy and Other Magical Tales up for sale. All of the proceeds made by the book go to Asha Nepal, a trustworthy charity that supports and removes victims from sex trafficking homes. She sells the book for only two dollars in order to encourage more donors to purchase the book and contribute to Asha Nepal. Although her project may be small scaled, Natassha says, “I know that I can’t change the whole world, but I know that I can change someone else’s world. For me, that’s more than enough.”
In the past four years, Selvaraj has been focusing on her studies and writing, but has always kept her project in the back of her mind. Now 15 years old, she’s restarted Book A Life with new determination and vigor. Although Selvaraj has faced many challenges of being overlooked and not taken seriously because of her young age, she refuses to let anyone stop her. Recently, she created a promotional video, began updating a blog, and jumpstarted new writing projects. All of these additions and more can be found at her website. In the near future, Natassha hopes to visit Nepal through Asha Nepal’s program so that she can meet the many former victims that she’s helped. Her goal is to give these girls hope and encouragement from a another young girl’s point of view.
By pursuing her passions, Natassha Selvaraj has found a way to change the lives of many victims of child trafficking. She serves as a role model for people of all ages. Specifically, her experience and commitment demonstrates to other young women that age does not have to restrict people from creating an impact. She has developed a campaign of girl empowerment, using her experience to inspire other young girls around the globe. Natassha’s optimism and hope for the world is inspiring, and she is determined to make a difference, one girl at a time.
If you are inspired by Natassha Selvaraj's work, you can donate below to help young girls in Nepal escape sex trafficking.