From a young age, I was raised in a household that taught me nothing but to always give back to the community. My grandmother, Madhu Nigam, was a pillar of strength for our family constantly caring for others before herself. With her passing, my grandfather decided to donate a hostel in her name to help underprivilege girls receive their rightful access to education.
With that being said, I took off alongside my close family members in January 2019 to India for the very first time to celebrate the inauguration of our family’s hostel and take part in what can be described as one of the most momentous occasions in our life. Our hostel built in Kusumbhi, Unnao—a special place close to my grandfather’s heart—houses local young girls with an enthusiastic passion to learn. Their mentor, Swamniji, devotes her heart and soul to the Kusumbhi girls to ensure they receive the best possible care, and guidance. Residing in our family’s hostel enables these girls to access local government-funded schools while creating life-long relationships with their peers, teachers, and Swamniji.
Coming from a first world country, I was unable to fully fathom the magnitude of our actions until I witnessed the hostel with my very own eyes. From watching their creative drama skits to singing along to classical bhajans, their content smiles and curious eyes filled me with an astounding sense of fulfillment and moment of self-actualization.
Witnessing philanthropy to this great of extent left me awestruck and reflecting on the truly important things in life. With broken Hindi and unfamiliarity of the country, I was hesitant on whether I would be able to interact with the children, and if we would be able to converse freely. However, none of this mattered, when talking to the girls— in an obscure combination of both Hindi and English—we engaged in meaningful conversation and I was able to see their individual bright and bubbly personalities shine. Whilst talking to these girls, I was humbled enough to advise them to never stop growing, and encourage them to pursue their dreams and ambitions irrespective of how far they may seem. I instantly connected with one of the local teachers who similar to myself, has a burning passion for medical sciences. To this date, I communicate with her to inquire about the girls’ well being and her progression with her graduate studies.
On our trip to Kusumbhi, I also had the opportunity to speak with some adolescent boys from a neighboring hostel also sponsored by AIM for SEVA. Hearing their feedback on AIM for SEVA, and their pronounced gratitude for the organization had my heart feeling full as they had specifically mentioned that there would’ve been no direction in their life if it wasn’t for the sponsors donating their time and money. AIM for SEVA further inspired some of these young boys to even work for the organization one day to make a change in someone else’s life, just as we did. I am so incredibly thankful for AIM for SEVA for giving us this opportunity to positively impact the lives of these young children and grateful for my family members who constantly inspire me to be selfless and compassionate.