NEW YORK: Uplift Humanity, an NGO founded in 2011 by Indian American Anish Patel, and that works towards enabling American youth to empower juveniles in India through education, has launched its fourth chapter in New Delhi.
Since its launch in Vadodara, Gujarat, Uplift Humanity has established centers in Indore and Hyderabad too. The NGO strives to empower juveniles in India to break the cycle of recidivism and achieve their full potential through education.
Its founding motto epitomizes the method by which it seeks to empower youth through hands-on education, mentoring, and technology training. Uplift Humanity’s goal is to spread its specialized curriculum throughout the continent to give youth opportunities to flourish once they reenter society.
“I started Uplift Humanity with no idea that it would become a growing and sustainable non-profit organization. I founded it as a summer program where we would take a few American teenagers to India to volunteer and work with juveniles behind bars for a few weeks. Now, it has grown tremendously and we are educating hundreds of orphans and juveniles in India throughout the entire year,” said Patel, in a statement.
Through various programs, Uplift Humanity India seeks to aid juvenile development, instill ambition and provide these children with the resources to materialize their ambitions. One such way is Uplift Humanity’s summer rehabilitation program through which the organization takes 75 volunteer students from the United States to one of the four rehabilitation facilities in India.
Volunteers teach orphans and juveniles life skills such as moral decision-making, self-esteem development, self–maintenance, daily etiquette and public speaking.
“Most importantly, we work to build close relationships with the juveniles and show them we care, something these juveniles are not accustomed to,” said Patel.
As part of the summer rehabilitation program, Uplift Humanity introduced a social media challenge for the 75 volunteers traveling abroad with the organization, titled ‘Uplifting the Veil: A Look through the Corrective Lens.’
The purpose of this challenge was to convey life inside the rehabilitative and transitory facilities located in India. Volunteers were asked to create a video using their smartphones and document their experience within the facilities. The videos, not to exceed more than three minutes, urged volunteers to be creative, impactful and send a powerful message.
Videos were judged by British singer-songwriter, Arjun, the brand ambassador for Uplift Humanity. Arjun selected Ruchir Nanavati as the title winner along with a $2000 scholarship. His video was picked for its impactful story and its sentiments. He creatively developed the video to effectively connect with other teenagers in the United States making his video impactful and ultimately go viral.
After successfully running the summer programs for two years, Uplift Humanity launched a Continuation Program that makes a larger impact by educating juveniles and orphans throughout the entire year by providing English and technology literacy through local volunteers.
The continuity program is perhaps the most crucial element of the on- site work at juvenile centers, according to a press release. As a part of the program, local Indian educators make weekly visits to the juvenile facilities, in order to administer lessons on a year round basis. The continuity program provides the NGO with a year-long period of evaluation of the juvenile class, allowing making more informed decisions about scholarship grants and educational sponsorships for program graduates. In fact, each year, Uplift Humanity awards those juveniles who have transformed the most with scholarships totaling over Rs. 150,000 ($2500) across all of its locations.
In March 2015, Uplift Humanity also released A Look Inside, narrated by Hollywood actress Janina Gavankar. This short film brings to light the injustices occurring in India’s institutionalized facilities, and highlights what Uplift Humanity is doing to combat this problem.
You can view Ruchir’s Uplifting the Veil video here: