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Indiaspora, powered by youth leadership nonprofit 360+, is proud to announce a new initiative, HeritageINDIA. A unique, immersive, 3-week summer program, this initiative gives high students of Indian descent the opportunity to connect to their ancestral homeland. Students will experience and engage with India’s rich and diverse cultural history by completing hands-on projects, participating in stimulating discussions, and building friendships with a cohort that will share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
HeritageINDIA will take place July 21 – August 10 with the exciting theme of India’s Riches: History, Culture, Diversity, & Democracy. Students will visit three areas of India that are geographically and culturally diverse, yet all very much represent India: New Delhi, Gujarat, and Kerala.
HeritageINDIA is for high school students who will be between 15 to 18 years of age at the time of the trip and are of Indian descent. Preference is given to those who have never had the opportunity to visit India.
HeritageINDIA will be overseen by Indiaspora Patron member Sridar Iyengar, an independent mentor investor in early-stage startups and former Chairman and CEO of KPMG India, who has created youth immersion programs for a diverse group of youth through his nonprofit organization, 360+. The adults accompanying them are trained and highly experienced in organizing international travel programs. Students will be under adult supervision of Sridar and 360+ professionals at all times during the trip.
Make sure to check out each student’s blogs about the trip under their name!
Selected candidates for HeritageINDIA 2019:
Over the past several years, Anuja Keerthi Konda, an incoming college freshman from Fremont, CA, has grown to love volunteering her time to serving those in need through organizations such as Hrudaya Foundation, Key Club, All Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Little Taare, and many more. She currently serves as MSJHS’s Senior Class President and SURF Representative for the Fremont Board of Education. Apart from being actively involved at her school and in community services, Anuja is a well-known Radio Show host on the weekly radio show “Paatshala” in the San Francisco Area (92.3 FM). Additionally, she enjoys performing Indian semi-classical and folk dance forms and playing piano. Anuja has received commendation and recognition certificates from elected officials such as Congressman Khanna, Assembly members Chu and other officials. Anuja has also received “The President’s Volunteer Service Award”. In 2019, she received the “Young Inspirational Woman of the Year” award from the Indo-American Community Federation (IACF). Anuja’s future career aspirations include becoming a Pediatrician and research scientist.
Nithya Venkat is 17 years old and is from Maple Grove, Minnesota. This fall she will be a senior at Maple Grove Senior High. Words cannot describe how extremely excited she is to be a part of the HeritageIndia experience and reconnect with her cultural heritage. At school, she is a member of her school’s speech and debate team, of which she will be serving as the president for the upcoming school year. These activities have taught her so much about advocacy, communication, and what it means to be a leader. This transcends into her social life as well as most conversations with her friends usually digress into political discussions and debates. Though she has a passion for social justice, she hopes to study Biological Sciences in college and one day practice as an OBGYN. In her free time she loves to write poetry and claims to spend WAY too much time watching Netflix.
Nirali Patel is a rising sophomore at Woodlands High School in Spring, Texas. She is a bubbly, adventurous girl who isn’t afraid of getting out of her comfort zone to face new, exciting challenges. She strives to help others out and inspires them to do what they love. She is part of a few clubs that allow her to positively impact others. As Vice President of a Gavel Speaking Club, she has earned a certificate for completing her first ten speeches and a medal for winning second place in a speaking competition, and she hopes to start a mentoring program for new members to help them achieve their speaking goals.
Nirali is also part of The Hindu Temple of The Woodlands Youth Club, Girl Scouts, and a school-bound club called Interact. In these clubs, she donates to multiple shelters, helps organize and maintain social gatherings, learns skills such as CPR to help people in need, and contributes her own volunteering ideas.
Nirali also has a passion for music and art. She plays the violin and the guitar in her spare time, and she enjoys drawing… especially in math class.
Because India is rich in music and art, Nirali was especially delighted when she heard the big news. She can’t wait to go to India, explore its different aspects of culture, and find out ways she can help out.
Krish is a rising sophomore at Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana. He volunteers at local food pantries and soup kitchens. In his free time, he enjoys talking with people, playing soccer, and playing the viola. He is passionate about biology and chemistry, where he competes in the U.S.A. Biology Olympiad and U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. In addition to that, he participates in AIME and ARML math competitions. He is also very committed to fixing environmental issues.
Ishaan Koradia is a rising junior at Panther Creek High School in Cary, North Carolina. He enjoys taekwondo a lot and is currently a brown belt. He has an odd interest in politics. He does not get much spare time since he is always tied up with school work, but when he does, he either plays video games with his little brother or plays basketball with friends. Ishaan took part in community work last summer by volunteering at an after school program for two months where he assisted in creating fun activities for kids in the program.
Riya Bhalla is a rising sophomore at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Some of her hobbies include darkroom photography, singing, archery and eating donuts! She has worked with organizations such as Kids For Peace, a non-profit organization designed to empower kids to spread peace around the world. Recently, the organization held a car wash to raise money to build a school in Pakistan. Similarly, they held a coin drive, to bring education to children in Kenya. The organization built a school there, last year. She is eager to spend her summer in India and meet new people!
Pranjali, who goes by PJ, is a rising sophomore at Gateway High School in San Francisco. When she was younger, and even to this day, she has a passion for sports. Some of her hobbies include soccer, snowboarding, and science. She describes herself as energetic, funny, but also very focused when she needs to be. Her connection to India is that she was born there. She was adopted so she doesn’t have the experience of living there. Pranjali lives with her older sister Maya and her mother and father. She is excited to meet new people and to learn about different parts and cultures of India.
DJ Jassal is an incoming college freshman from Alexandria, Virginia. Having learned the importance of selflessness and giving back from his parents, who immigrated to the US from India, DJ holds a great passion for community service and social justice. In his time outside of school, DJ works to lead GIVE: a non-profit organization involving over 1,000 students from across Northern Virginia that serves to provide free tutoring programs for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. He hopes that, by going on the HeritageIndia 2019 trip with Indiaspora, he can learn more about his homeland and also take his passion for social justice to an even larger scale!
If you have questions about the candidates or the selection process, please contact Gabrielle Trippe, our Philanthropy Initiatives Manager, at email@example.com.
Our trip will begin in India’s capital, New Delhi. Over the course of three weeks, the cohort will also visit the Indian states of Gujarat and Kerala. The curriculum for the trip will include, but not be limited to, the following sights:
Sridar Iyengar has been organizing youth immersion programs in India for several years through his leadership collective 360+. You can read more about what inspired him to give back through his program in this blog for Indiaspora.
He is the former Chairman and CEO of KPMG India, and the Co-founder of The Sounding Board. He is an independent mentor investor in early-stage startups, and is also an Independent Advisor to a number of companies, particularly those operating in the United States and India corridor, including Blume Venture Advisors and Bessemer Venture Partners. He has made a number of private investments in a wide variety of sectors and spent 35 years involved in global business, 15 years of which were India-related.
He is a founding charter member of TiE and remains active with TiE India and its Global organization, as well as the Silicon Valley and Mumbai chapters. He was previously Chairperson of the American India Foundation’s Clinton Fellowship for Service in India program, and is involved with the Foundation for Democratic Reforms in India. He serves, or has previously served, on the Board of a number of organizations, including America India Foundation, ICICI Bank, Infosys Technologies Limited, Club Mahindra Holidays and Rediff.com. Sridar has a B.Com. (Honors) from University of Calcutta and has completed the Executive Education course at Stanford University.
Gabrielle Trippe is the Philanthropy Initiatives Manager at Indiaspora. She comes from a background in international public health, and began her career in sub-Saharan Africa, where she worked on issues such as HIV/AIDS, human rights, and water and sanitation issues. Her experience in India began as a William J. Clinton Fellow with the American India Foundation. She served in Hyderabad and focused on women’s and girls’ health, in addition to work with the the LV Prasad Eye Institute. Most recently, she worked with Purpose as Research and Partnership Development Consultant for a campaign to reduce avoidable blindness in India. A Fulbright-Hays Scholar and a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Gabrielle holds a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University.