How SpeakUP! Was Born.


Every child has the right to be not only seen by their communities but have their opinions and wishes heard. In many developing countries, the issue of children not being able to advocate for their basic needs is very inherent. Furthermore, research based in the United States shows that when students are deprived of formal education in public speaking/debate/argumentation, their confidence suffers, as do their academic and economic prospects. I started the 501(c)(3) organization SpeakUP! to address these issues head on, and enhance the public speaking capabilities of students internationally. Through online and in person camps, workshops, and classes covering topics such as an introduction to debate, persuasion tactics, argumentation, and confidence building, SpeakUP! has taught over 300 students globally to effectively use their voices and become champions of change for themselves and their communities.

Meet Shruti

Shruti Pokharna is the founder and CEO SpeakUP!. She is currently a senior attending Lexington High School in Massachusetts. Shruti identified the issue of inequitable educational opportunities over the pandemic. Through her experience as a high school debater, teacher, and mentor, Shruti founded the organization, SpeakUP! to ensure that students across the globe are able to effectively use their voices and become champions of change through argumentation and confidence building workshops/camps. She worked with global teams of teachers to curate curriculums suitable for an international audience and has currently reached over 300 students. She firmly believes every child has the right to not only be seen by their communities but have their opinions and wishes heard.