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...
#ItsHerTurn: A reason to be thankful

#ItsHerTurn: A reason to be thankful

Suma’s Story Inspires a Teenager to Count Her Blessings Thanksgiving is more than just the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing; it is a time to give thanks and express gratitude for the elements that bring joy to life. Not only is it a time to count your blessings, but it is also a day set aside for service and giving back to the community, country and world. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” tying in perfectly to the themes of Thanksgiving, but more than that, the Sahasra Deepika Foundation. When presented with the lack of opportunities for girls in India to be educated, the Sahasra Deepika Foundation stepped up to become the much-needed change. In a world where girls are not as valued as they should be, Sahasra Deepika has found a way to ensure that they not only get an education, but also are cared for, supported, and given a safe haven to call home. They have given each and every girl who walks through their doors a blessing to count and something to be thankful for. A change being made in the world is a result of being inspired. This inspiration can come from anywhere, or anything–from a problem that needs to be fixed to a story that must be shared. Suma’s Story: It’s Her Turn is an inspiration. It was Suma’s resilience that leapt off the screen and inspired me. Despite the bad cards she was dealt, Suma has turned her life around and become a role model, not only for other girls at Sahasra Deepika, but for people like...
Sahasra Deepika Girls Win 1st Prize at Bhumi Nakshatra

Sahasra Deepika Girls Win 1st Prize at Bhumi Nakshatra

On August 2nd, the Sahasra Deepika girls participated in Bangalore’s Bhumi Nakshatra, a talent fest and sports competition for students from children’s homes and NGOs. The contest, held at New Horizon College, gave kids of all ages an opportunity to compete in dance, drama, clay modeling, sketching, rangoli design, sports and many other categories. At the end of the events, Sahasra Deepika was best of show, winning the 1st place...