Back in May, I was a keynote speaker at the Tamil Nadu Foundation‘s annual convention outside Philadelphia. This organization of non-resident Indians who support initiatives in their home state of Tamil Nadu, particularly centering around education and health, invited me to speak about my work and my book.
The convention’s chairman, Som Somasundaram, and his family were extremely welcoming to me. They are also a highly philanthropic family. I was especially impressed with Som’s daughter, Lakshmi, an 18-year-old girl who already has big dreams – and has accomplished big goals – to help further the education of less fortunate children.
Two years ago, Lakshmi arrived at Vedaranyam in India, to spend her vacation at the Kasturba Gandhi Kanya Gurukulam (KGKG) home and school for girls. Two years later, she returned to KGKG to fulfil a promise she had committed to herself – dedicate a science centre for the girls of Gurukulam.
For the young Lakshmi altruism came naturally, as the girls voiced their aspiration for careers in science and how they were handicapped by the lack of a full-fledged science laboratory. “During my stay here, I learnt about their way of life, what their needs and aspirations were…It was essentially sharing of experiences,” says Lakshmi.
Inspired by their stories, she came out with a DVD on the Gurukulam and played it out to the audience at the Tamil Nadu Foundation convention.
“After my DVD presentation, I went around amid the audience with a collection box and it began with few dollars and someone dropped a cheque for USD 10,000. That gave me the confidence and finally we had collected over USD 40,000 over a period,” an elated Lakshmi told The Hindu newspaper.
This is just one more example of someone being the change they wish to see in the world, and a bright spot in our future generation.