– by Srujana Pattabathula, volunteer, Austin, TX
I write this with the many other Vibha volunteers in mind. I want to express my profound sense of gratitude to the volunteers and the organization they have created and continue to support. Thank you for everything that each of you is doing for the children in India. I am grateful for having found such an exceptional organization as an avenue to create positive change.
Gratitude…that word encapsulates the reason why I have chosen to volunteer for Vibha. I knew how to define the word. But I didn’t know what it meant until I spent time among children of the poorest poor in India, earlier this year.
Some lessons take a long time to be learned. To sink in. And then one day, you look in the mirror and you realize that the charade is over. After witnessing the lives children lead there, I realized that I could no longer hide behind a veil of indifference or ignorance.
Whenever I saw the children on the streets in India, or on the television here, I would do so with a broken heart. There were children who walk miles upon miles to the nearest school because they simply want to learn. It is their faces that come to mind on cold, cloudy mornings when I would rather stay in bed than attend my 8 am class. I can no longer justify looking for every excuse not to go to class. Instead, I am grateful for the ability and means to learn. These children put things into a perspective I would have never gained elsewhere.
I realized that it could have just as easily been me born as a child who is a helpless victim of disease, violence, famine, and injustice. It could have easily been me. But for the grace of God, I am part of a tremendously fortunate few in the world to have a solid education. I must say that there are many times when I take it for granted. However, I realize that education has opened many doors for me and I cannot imagine life otherwise.
Unfortunately, so many children in India do not have the opportunity to achieve their potential or even dream about a life like ours partly because of a lack of education. For this reason, I am planning to run a Half-Marathon to raise funds for Vibha’s education projects for these underprivileged children in India.
This is one of the most challenging tasks I have undertaken, but I realize that it dims in comparison to the challenges that these children will face without a proper education.
The fundraising journey has been arduous, but immensely rewarding. At every step, I have been greeted by people who are enthusiastic about this organization and the cause it advances. People have been contributing generously and keenly, based on the simple notion that for a small fraction of our yearly expenditures, we can give an underprivileged child the best gift one can give to another person…Education.
So I want to thank Vibha for bringing together people like myself, to help make a life for these children. Thank you for allowing me to fulfill my moral responsibility and duty and rebuild the lives of these children with heart and soul. Thank you for the chance to break the cycle these children have been born into, set them on a path to build positive change, and become the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you Vibha for giving these children hope, a chance to rise, dream…and learn.
You can support my efforts by making a pledge at http://www.active.com/donate/vibhamarathoners/Srujana