Ten-for-Ten: Westport students help Indian students go to college
Published 10:56 pm, Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Ten female students at Greens Farms Academy in Westport have raised $10,000 to help send 10 orphaned high school girls in Coimbatore, India to college.
The Ten-for-Ten project helped raise the money for the young Indians through the Save Our Daughters charity.
GFA classmates Stephanie Garofoli, Alison Hutchison, Caroline Jamison, Kelley Kobak, Rebecca Lavietes, Brook McGrath, Abbie Steckler, Caroline Sullivan, Brittany Walker and Elizabeth Woodson asked corporations or individuals to match $1,000 if they could raise that amount at an Indian-themed fundraiser.
The fundraiser, which took place recently at Bombay Restaurant, featured traditional Indian dancing by Shreya Nidadavolu of the Hindu Cultural Center of Connecticut, as well as Indian cuisine donated by the restaurant and a silent auction. By the end of the evening, the students had raised nearly double their $1,000 goal.
With the matching donations, the group was able to raise an overall amount of $10,000.
Janet Hartwell, head of school at Greens Farms Academy, said in a statement that the money raised will profoundly affect the future of their counterparts in India.
State Sen. Toni Boucher applauded the girls and their initiative. She also noted that receiving a Rotary scholarship in her youth had promoted her efforts to give back to the community through public service.
Rick Benson, a past Rotary district governor, explained the group's commitment to service through its global organization, which helps developed countries to assist developing countries through a variety of programs such as literacy in India.
Vanessa Singh of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, after thanking the audience for their contributions, recalled that when she arrived in the United States when she was 13 years old with nothing but the clothes on her back. Through scholarships, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College before starting her graduate studies at Columbia.
P.K. Mohanty, the consul for culture and education at the Consulate General of India in New York, attended the Westport event to express gratitude for the support of India's girls in their pursuit of education.
Save Our Daughters, the brainchild of Rotarian T. Sampath Kumar in Coimbatore, India, was brought to this country by Elizabeth Woodson of Westport, who worked in orphanages in the south of India last summer.