Growing up as a kid in the USA, Michelle Obama was my inspiration .Her poise, calming demeanor yet firm and decisive nature shaped my early ideas about women empowerment. While working with my parents on their projects in India (which is native to our family) I realized that although there was a disparity between the “ haves” and the “ have- nots” there was an even wider disparity between boys and girls.
Every School/ Hospital / Orphanage I volunteered in India with my parents I saw a distinct disadvantage against girls, something I did not see as much in my home country the USA. In one such visit to a small village called Ratadia, in Kutch, India I conceived Operation Michelle.
This mission was inspired by three outstanding individuals ( Dr. Sumitra Myatra , his wife Harshaben Myatra and my Dad’s school friend Mr. Kaushal Cheddha).
After completing his medical school in Mumbai , India , instead of following the typical route of starting a private practice like most of his peers Dr Myatra with the help of his wife Harshaben decided to follow the route less traversed and went back to their village in Kutch , India to provide service to their village folks. Dr. Myatra’s father had realized long before that there is no progress without education and so the school he had built in 1982 in Ratadia a small village in Kutch ,Gujarat was taken to the next level by Dr. Myatra and Harshaben.
Today they run a school of close to 100-130 orphans/ underprivileged kids providing them with education / shelter/ food and a place to call home . Although the government grant is only approved for 50 kids, due to the excellent reputation of this school kids come from far away villages as well and no one is turned down. The over budget expenses of the school are covered by a few benefactors of the school most important being Mr Kaushal Cheddha ( my dad’s school mate from Don Bosco , Matunga, India) whose grandfather and then his father were shoulder to shoulder with the Myatra family since the inception of the school.
My involvement in this project was accidental. While sitting next to my dad one evening , I saw he was going back and forth on his Facebook messenger with his friend . Apparently the school in Ratadia had minimal to no sports equipment and they were short on funds. When I learnt that the cost to find the entire sports equipment was 10,000 Indian Rupees ( 150$), I quickly scrambled to my room and was able to conjure up 200$ prize money ( gathered over the last 2 birthdays/ Christmas/ Thanksgiving holidays). The tears of joy on my dad’s eyes that day was the best gift I have ever received.
I wanted to learn more about the school and so after a few emails back and forth and a visit to the school We were told that it takes 200$/year/child to cover expenses/ lodging/ boarding and education. I had just received 1000$ from my grandparents for successfully passing the level 5 piano theory and practical exam in record time and I had absolutely no hesitation in pledging these funds to financially adopt 5 girls about my age.
My goal in this mission is to generate funds which will support food, education , hygiene, shelter and eventually a purpose to the lives of girls my age who were not as lucky as I was to be born into a privileged family.