Roy is an actor, model, Ms. India Australia Goodwill Ambassador, the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG)’s Peace Ambassador, and an independent lifestyle writer. In addition, she is an emcee, public speaker, podcaster, and social worker presently based in Sydney, Australia. Saroni Roy’s story began in the city of steel Jamshedpur, India, and she has emerged as an agent of global change.
In 2013, Roy was at the peak of her career when she noticed a lump-like swelling on her neck. She consulted an ENT surgeon, she was told it appeared there was a tumor inside of her thyroid gland.
“Yes, it was a big shock,” says Roy. “A jolt, but also the biggest turning point in my life. I had to take a break from work. I was a PR professional then, and for almost three to four years, in the transition phase from India to Australia, I disappeared from my social life. But that never put my life on hold. I chose to spend that time focusing on my heart, body, and mind. I wanted to bring a radical change in my life and build the new me.”
A cancer survivor, Roy also suffers from endometriosis, a pelvic-pain causing condition associated with menstruation. In addition, she was diagnosed with essential thrombocythemia, a disorder that causes excruciating pain in the left leg. This condition puts her at risk for blood and bone marrow cancer. It doesn’t help that post-cancer surgery and radiation resulted in her the loss of her thyroid gland.
But Saroni Roy is not a woman who lets her disabilities define her. She has worked extensively with less-privileged communities — first in India when she was a teenager, and then as an adult working globally. Recently, she received the Citizen of the Year Award at the Strathfield Council 2022, NSW, Australia. The Australia Day Awards recognize unsung heroes in the community.
She says, “After moving to Sydney, I worked as an English teacher at a leading language school, but then one day, I felt an excruciating pain in my left leg, had to quit my teaching job and was on bedrest. I took that as a learning phase and enrolled myself in an acting school right after I got up from the rest. Soon, acting became my healing mechanism.”
In 2021, Saroni joined the AFTERPAY Australian Fashion Week (AAFW 2021) at the Carriageworks, Sydney, promoting a South Asian presence. She swayed in an animal-print black pencil dress, by Digi Couture’s Toni Maticevski and The Fabricant Animator Overcoat.
In 2019, she received the “Peace Ambassador” award from the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) for her continued efforts and contribution as a volunteer for the community.
Supported by community volunteers, multi-cultural organizations, NGOs, the Consulate General of India in Sydney, the City of Parramatta Council, and Western Sydney University, Saroni was an integral part of the “Mahatma-150” core team, a conglomeration of individuals from different walks of life and expertise in various fields of work with a common goal to perpetuate and celebrate the peace icon, Mahatma Gandhi’s values and teachings on his 150th birth anniversary.
To serve and engage the multicultural community at a deeper level, Saroni conceptualized, produced, and hosted the Ahimsa Peace Symposium 2021 (APS2021).
In response to the UN-SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) 4, 5, 11, 16, 17, she observes that “violence against women and girls has risen globally since lockdowns, which has led to what we see as the ‘shadow pandemic,’ and thus the focus on the global “Women Peace and Security” agenda shall be stressed upon through APS2021.
Says Saroni, “I have always believed in serving the nation, be it my own country or any other place! My weaknesses have never stopped me from evolving into a better human being, and I want everyone to think the same. Do not lay back, instead keep moving is my motto.”
Parul Sanghi Bajaj is a freelance journalist based in Ranchi, India.