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...
Running for the Girls: Q&A With Shamala Saripalli

Running for the Girls: Q&A With Shamala Saripalli

Shamala Saripalli ran the Rock’n Roll marathon in San Diego on May 31st because she loves running–and she loves supporting girls education! Tell us a little about yourself: I live in San Diego, California, with my husband Raghu and our two sons, Rahul and Satvik. I work as a Senior Application Analyst for the City of Carlsbad. Have you ever run a marathon, or fundraised, before? No, this was my first marathon and my first fundraiser. Why did you choose to support Sahasra Deepika?  To provide hope and a brighter future for impoverished girls!!! I strongly believe in education as an opportunity to change lives. This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. India has the largest population of child labor in the world. Girls especially suffer the most in a society where there is a strong preference for boys. Education gives girls hope and an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, not just for themselves, but also for their families. You raised an amazing amount of money–over $17,000! How did you feel when you crossed the finish line?  We did it!!! I ran with joy in my heart. I felt very proud of girls and all my supporters. What message would you like to share with the girls at Sahasra Deepika? Girls, when you grow up, I would like to see you share your success with other girls that need help and help them become successful. Anything is possible in life if you have the desire to accomplish. What advice do you have for others who may want to follow your example? It is absolutely a great experience, especially when you do...