Washington, July 11: About 100 American high school and college students will travel to the Indian cities of Hyderabad, Vadodara and Indore to provide their at-risk peers, mostly juvenile delinquents and orphans, basic life skills.
The journey this summer is part of a project initiated by Uplift Humanity India, a Basking Ridge, New Jersey based non-profit organisation founded by an Indian American for the rehabilitation of juvenile inmates in South Asia.
Following the One Step Forward curriculum, a handbook developed by the organisation the American students will teach their Indian counterparts the importance of proper communication and leadership.
Now in its fourth year of operations, Uplift Humanity's summer programmes are starting to create the impact they were designed to make, according to local Basking Ridge Patch.
"Uplift Humanity is the first US non-profit to send American teenagers directly to India to work in orphanages and juvenile detention centres." Founder Anish Patel, a business student at New York University, was quoted as saying. "I created the organisation, while a student myself, to give orphans and juveniles in India a second chance."
Students who have attended the programme in the past say the results have been transformational, both for them and their Indian peers. However, after three successful cycles of executing the summer programme, educators realized that there was too much of a gap between the instruction periods, given that students only travel to India once a year.
Therefore, to increase its impact, Uplift Humanity launched The Continuation Programme, an initiative that uses local Indian students and teachers, whom Uplift hires, to provide instruction throughout the entire year in India.
"The technology curriculum is especially important in India, given that the country has been undergoing a tech revolution since the introduction of outsourcing in huge American back-offices and call centres," Neil Shah, the organisation's Director of Public Relations was quoted as saying.
"I love the direct, tangible, observable improvements Uplift has been able to make on the lives of these children," said Indian-American actor Sunkrish Bala, the brand ambassador for the organisation. "Uplift isn't simply throwing money at a problem. Rather, it's affecting change on a personal, human level."