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Amazing Kid: Teen Girl Raised $33,000 for Orphans - PIOG

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 11:42 PM
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Amazing Kid: Teen Girl Raised $33,000 for Orphans

Categories: Teens & Tweens, Amazing Kids

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Neha Gupta proves that it's never too early to start volunteering. Credit: Vikas Gupta

Neha Gupta may be just 13 years old, but her work helping orphans in India is as impressive as an accomplishment as many adults can imagine.

Neha started Empower Orphans, a global nonprofit organization that provides orphaned and underprivileged children with a basic education, vocational training and health care. Currently, she supports children in India and the United States, but she plans to expand to other countries. So far, she has raised about $33,000 for her charity.

This Yardley, Pa., teen is a Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes semi-finalist, which recognizes outstanding kids for their contributions and community service by awarding 10 children a $7,500 scholarship each and another $2,500 to donate to their pet charitable causes. The winners will be announced June 16, at a national press conference.

ParentDish spoke with Neha about her work with orphans, what inspired her to become an activist and what her plans are for the future.

PD: What inspired you to begin your work with orphans in India?

Neha Gupta: As my grandparents live in India, I often visit the country. In keeping with family tradition, I volunteer at an orphanage each time we visit my grandparent's hometown, located in northern India. When I was 9 years old, I realized that the 200 children who live at the orphanage did not have adequate money to gain a proper education. I felt very sad when I heard this because I know the importance of education. Moreover, it was heartbreaking for me to think that these children had no mother or father to guide them, protect them or love them. I decided to take action by raising money.

PD: When did you start Empower Orphans?

NG: Empower Orphans was conceptualized in 2006, when I started helping orphaned children. In 2009, I formally registered the organization as a nonprofit.

PD: How have your parents supported you in your work?

Without the support of my parents, my work would not have been possible. They are my guides and mentors. Irrespective of their tight work schedule, they take time to help me and to drive me to different events.

PD: How does it feel to be a Huggable Heroes semi-finalist? Were you surprised?

It is definitely an honor to be a Huggable Heroes semi-finalist. Naturally, I hope to be the grand prize winner so that I can use the funds to further improve the lives of orphaned and underprivileged children.

PD: Have you been to India to visit the children you help there?

I have been visiting India every year since I was born. During every trip, I spend considerable time with the orphaned and underprivileged children. I provide goods and services to the children and also plan out the next year's activities. This is definitely a highlight of my trips.

It has opened my eyes to the fulfillment one receives in helping others -- the smiles, hugs and goodwill one receives are the best feelings one can experience.

PD: Does Empower Orphans take up all of your spare time? What do you like to do when you aren't helping children?

When I am not working for my organization, Empower Orphans, I have three main passions. First, I enjoy playing tennis, which I have been playing since I was 6 years old, and I aim to be on the high school junior varsity and varsity tennis teams. Second, I love to sing, and am currently in multiple choirs, including the school chorus, honors choir and "Young Women of Note." Lastly, I love to draw and paint scenery, or even capture it on film, as it interests me as to how we can take nature and turn it into a creative picture.

PD: What plans do you have for the future? You're only 13, but do you see yourself being an advocate for children as you get older?
NG: When I grow up, I aspire to become a doctor, or more specifically a pediatrician, so that I can continue to work with orphaned and underprivileged children.

PD: What advice do you have for other kids who want to make a difference like you have?

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Just one person definitely has the ability to make a positive change in the lives of thousands in their community. Becoming that one person is quite easy if you convert your empathy into action.


by on Jun. 13, 2010 at 11:42 PM
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by on Jun. 14, 2010 at 12:48 AM


by on Jun. 14, 2010 at 12:58 AM


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