Resolve to Make a Difference in 2017

Resolve to Make a Difference in 2017

“Instead of looking at New Year’s as a chance to just reflect on ourselves, let us take this opportunity to think about those in need in our communities, nationally, and globally.” The New Year marks the chance for a fresh start. People take time to spend with friends and family, resolutions are made, and essentially, we are presented with an opportunity to improve ourselves. We are basically given a chance to hit a “reset button” on our lives, as we reflect on the past year and prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. Yet, not all children are given this chance for a new start every time January 1st rolls around. Some are stuck in cycles of poverty, oppression, and overall discrimination–especially girls. According to UNESCO, about 66 million girls worldwide are unable to go to school. Instead of looking at New Year’s as a chance to just reflect on ourselves, let us take this opportunity to think about those in need in our communities, nationally, and globally. Not only can we resolve to have a deeper understanding of the world’s issues, but we can also begin making a difference, large or small. Here is a quick start…a few facts about the issue of girls education: A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult. In Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, there would be a 10% decrease in the amount of girls under 17 who become pregnant if they were given an education. A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5. India’s GDP...
“Suma’s Story” to be Shown at DC SAFF

“Suma’s Story” to be Shown at DC SAFF

“Suma’s Story,” A moving short film about one of Sahasra Deepika’s first students, will be screened at the DC South Asian Film Festival on Sunday, September 11th. The film, produced and directed by Ms. Media Productions, shows the impact of Sahasra Deepika on the life of a young girl who was left at Sahasra Deepika by her mother–a mother who never returned. On September 10th, Sahasra Deepika Foundation for Education President Sarva Rajendra will participate in a panel discussion on human trafficking after a screening of SOLD the movie. All events will be held at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center in Rockville,...
Breaking Stereotypes, One Girl at a Time

Breaking Stereotypes, One Girl at a Time

“I am thankful that places like Sahasra Deepika exist. It gives me hope, that one day I will live in a society where being an Indian woman is not defined by stereotypes…” Being an Indian girl, while being raised in America and attending a predominately white school has its challenges; whether it be the difference in culture, religion, or ways of thinking. I have been fortunate enough to go to a school that strives to embrace differences and accept those with unique religious and cultural backgrounds. While the school itself embodies messages of diversity, it is hard to leave biases behind and embark on complete open-mindedness. Often times society instills racist, untrue, and hurtful messages within us and we subconsciously oblige. I have just finished 10th grade and am now starting to notice how our society acts towards those who are different, or those that they do not completely understand. Not only do I realize the unfair treatment that has been dealt to others, but I am starting to understand how I am also treated differently because of my ethnicity, in a place where I am a minority. I can recall a moment in the 6th grade while reading the book, Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. In the book a 13- year old Indian girl is forced into an arranged marriage, with no say in the matter. The book then follows her through her married life. Her husband dies soon after marriage and her in-laws are so horrible that they leave her alone in the city. The students in my 6th grade class had not yet had any lessons...
7th Annual Spelling Bee

7th Annual Spelling Bee

Every year, Sahasra Deepika volunteers and staff go into 9th standard classrooms in the community. The visit disadvantaged government high schools around Bangalore where children are taught in the state language, Kannada. Without English proficiency, their chances of getting a job in such a cosmopolitan city are severely curtailed. The English tutoring done through our Outreach Program helps students gain confidence, and better understanding of the language. The program culminates annually in a Spelling Bee Contest, in which the top spellers at each school vie for a scholarship, prizes, and most of all, recognition for their talents. This year, nearly 2500 students from 26 schools participated in the program. On January 24th, 95 finalists took the stage at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. This was the longest Spelling Bee ever–35 rounds, ending in a dramatic tiebreaker between classmates Priyanka and Chandan from Honnaganna Hatti High School. Priyanka emerged the winner, saying, “Each year our school has won a prize. This year, that we won 1st prize makes me very happy. I’ve learned so many words. In the future, speaking English will be easier.” Many thanks to all of the sponsors, volunteers, judges, moderator Dr. G. Sridhar, and most especially to the children and their teachers for this amazing...
Love in Action

Love in Action

What is Valentine’s Day? A day to exchange gifts? A day when schoolgirls and boys make hearts out of red paper? A day when the scent of rose petals fills the air? Some view it as a day to give friends and family flowers, little cards with loving sayings on them, and other gifts. But behind this commercialized front, Valentine’s Day has a deeper meaning. It is a day set aside to express love to those you care about through kind words and actions. Sahasra Deepika’s work encompasses the theme of Valentine’s Day not just on February 14th, but on a daily basis. What better way is there to show love than to provide so many girls with an education, a home and a family of people who care about them? In the film Suma’s Story: It’s Her Turn, Suma talks about how her mother dropped her off at Sahasra Deepika and said that she would come back for her–yet she left without ever looking back. When I first saw that film, my thoughts were along the lines of “How could a mother do that to her child?” I also started to wonder about how hard life must be for Suma, who must think that her mother did not love her. It took a conversation with my own mother for me to realize that this was really an act of love. My mother was able to understand something that I could not: the extent a mother will go to for her daughter’s happiness. This is not to say that Suma has not had difficulties in her life. But Suma’s mother dropped her off in an...