These NRI Teenagers are Working for Social Causes
Riddhiraj Kumar, a 10-year-old Kuwait resident, donated his prize money to the Indian Army Welfare Fund.
As the popular movie title proclaims, the kids are, indeed, doing all right! Non-resident Indian teenagers and even younger children are making tremendous impact on home soil and globally.
Here are some teenyboppers who are taking on social problems in their own ways:
1. Megha Vyakaranam
A Class 11 student in Dallas, USA, Megha Vyakaranam set up libraries for 10 Mandal Upper Primary schools at Anandpuram in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on August 11. Megha used the money she got as the first prize at International Science Competition in the US, in which students from 80 countries participated. Megha’s aunt Kanaka Durga Dhulipala works in Mandal Office and it was on her suggestion that the 15-year-old helped the schools.
Each library has been given a set of 5,000 books and steel almirahs to keep them, Hans India reported. When she was in Class X, Megha founded a non-profit organisation, Hustle 2 Heal, along with her classmates in the US.
3. Simran Vedvyas
Raised in Dubai, 18-year-old Simran Vedvyas has tons of achievements under her belt. She was recently awarded the NRI of the Year Award 2017 in Mumbai for her work. The awards presentation is in its fourth edition this year, and is run by Times Now, ICICI Bank and GIIS (Global Indian International School). She bagged the award in the Academics Category.
She has also won the Sheikh Hamdan Award and Sharjah Education award — thrice each! At the age of 12, she was the youngest from the region to carry the Olympic Flame at London Olympics in 2012. That was the year she founded Synergy, a non-profit organisation, which advocates for sustainable living, environment and human rights. Her NGO has led 75 successful youth engagements, including ‘Green Space New Life’, under which 3,000 trees were planted at landfills across the UAE, ‘Convoy to Feed’, under which food supplies were distributed to nearly 4,000 workers at various landfills. She also initiated a drive to collect shoes, and 3,000 pairs of footwear were sent to children in Kenya and Uganda.
Simran is now pursuing undergraduation at University of Toronto, Canada.
3. Siddharth Thuppil
A Class 12 student from Princeton, New Jersey, 16-year-old Siddharth Thuppil organised an art exhibition to raise funds for toilet construction at Then Poondipattu in Cheyyar, Tamil Nadu. The exhibition was held on July 17 and 18 and had a theme that reflected India’s ethos. He had painted water colour paintings under four sub-topics — ‘Utyodaya’ (work), ‘Utsava’ (festivity), ‘Aalaya’ (temples) and ‘Varma’ (inspired by Raja Ravi Varma). The exhibition raised $2,500, according to the Hindu.
Siddharth has also been painting a small room for children in the village, where 50 students will take tuitions. The wall features a painting of the solar system that Siddharth made with the children. He got to know about the village through his uncle C Srinivasan who runs an NGO, Pudhu Vasantham Trust, for the village of 80 families.
4. Riddhiraj Kumar
A resident of Kuwait, Riddhiraj Kumar donated Rs 18,000 to the Indian Army Welfare Fund with the prize money he got from International Bench Mark Test as part of the Improving Learning Award for Excellence from Australian Council for Education Research. He had won 80 Kuwait Dinars.
The 10-year-old student met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi along with his mother on August 3 with the cheque, NDTV reported. This was not his first meeting with the Prime Minister — he had met Modi in 2013 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. At 6 years of age, the child was able to name of states of India blindfolded by just feeling the shapes on the map and was able to list out all the countries of the world in just 90 seconds, according to reports.