A Window to Sahasra Deepika

A Window to Sahasra Deepika

“No matter where a human being is on the planet we all have a common thread. We want to be loved and we want to have opportunities that make us grow and learn.”

My summer internship experience with Ms. Media exceeded my expectations. A big reason it was so special was because I was introduced to the Sahasra Deepika Foundation for Education. Upon my arrival to Washington DC, the first client of Ms. Media that I had the pleasure of meeting was Sarva Rajendra. Sarva is the executive director of Sahasra Deepika, a school for underprivileged girls in India.

I have always had a passion for work with the underprivileged. Hearing Sarva talk so passionately about Sahasra Deepika instantly captivated me and enchanted my heart. We were not just having a conversation about poverty, we were talking about education, girls and hope. I knew that I wanted to contribute to Sarva and her cause from that moment.

Monika Samtani, my boss and mentor for my summer internship, entrusted me with the task of looking through all of the footage that she and her Ms. Media team filmed when they visited Sahasra Deepika a few years back. She handed over the hard drives to me and asked me to organize the footage and create vignettes for three of the girls who attend Sahasra Deepika. It was something I never done before, but I was eager to try it and make the most of the learning experience. I thought this is how I can contribute to the impeccable purpose of Sahasra Deepika.

As I looked through the footage I saw the depth, the realness and the raw emotions of the girls who attend the school. They were compassionate, curious, loving and smart. A common theme that I recognized while watching the footage was gratitude. Even though the girls at the school came from difficult situations, they all had this sense of gratitude and were thankful for everything they had. They were thankful to be learning and for being loved. This observation made me think deeper. No matter where a human being is on the planet we all have a common thread. We want to be loved and we want to have opportunities that make us grow and learn.

Although I did not attend the trip to India, I felt like I still took a lot away by simply watching the footage. I felt appreciation to these girls through the videos I was watching. My appreciation came from the fact that these young girls opened up themselves. They peeled back a layer of their vulnerability and shared their story… even if it was really difficult for them to do so. They were brave, resilient and beautiful.

As I wrapped up my work on the vignettes I was left with a feeling of warmth and authentic understanding. Sahasra Deepika is a place like no other and its mission is awe-inspiring. I hope one day to visit and to spread the word of its purpose.

You can view one of Laura’s vignettes on YouTube.

Laura McKinney is a sophomore at Penn State University majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in entrepreneurship and innovation. She is an advocate on her campus for sexual violence awareness and mental health through her work in student government. She hopes to one day be a news reporter and tell people’s stories through an empathetic lens.