India West Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON, DC —For the first time since the inception of the India Philanthropy Alliance Youth Essay Competition, the annual winners of the 2022 Youth Essay Competition will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas, live and in person, in front of a room full of business leaders, philanthropists, and leaders of associations. The gathering will be organized by Indiaspora, a founding member of the Alliance, and GiveIndia as part of their annual philanthropy summit and will be held at the Indian Consulate in New York, according to a press release.
The contest winners are Riya Balaji from San Jose, CA, and Esha Gadi from Warrington, PA. The finalists are Yashi Bhowmick from Pooler, GA and Chinmayi Joshi from Basking Ridge, NJ. Finalists include Tej Shah of Chicago, IL, Rithvi Sathish of Redmond, WA, and Ramanathan Venkatesh of Brambleton, VA.
The essays they wrote addressed the following question: what do you think is the most important problem facing India and its people today? What role do you see individuals (young and old) and groups here in the United States playing in being part of the solution?
“Honestly, it means everything to me that I won,” said Esha Gadi, winner in the high school category. “It gives me hope that people really care about this topic. [sexual assault]. It makes me realize that we can really change together as a society, for the better.
“I entered this contest in 2021 and I didn’t win, but that didn’t stop me,” said Riya Balaji, winner in the middle school category. “I was determined to do it again, but this time with more research, facts and action. Because I won, I feel really excited and now I’m even more excited to give back. money to charity knowing that I will make a big difference for the underprivileged.
Winners receive $1,000 grants and runners-up $500 to donate to the charity of their choice. The competition, as well as student-awarded nonprofit grants, are sponsored by the Sarva Mangal Family Trust, which has supported the competition since its inception, and the Iowa-based Sehgal Foundation.
“The IPA Youth Essay Competition is one of the ways we are investing in the philanthropy of tomorrow,” said Mona Shah, representative of the Sarva Mangal Family Trust. “As changemakers and philanthropists, we need to focus on the future of philanthropy and encourage young people in the United States to engage with the issues facing India, and to work for have the greatest impact here and now.”
Topics covered by the test takers included a variety of topics such as women’s rights and safety, pollution, religious intolerance, HIV/AIDS stigma, availability of quality education.
The Alliance is a coalition of 14 non-profit, philanthropic and charitable organizations that run programs in India. At the heart of its mission is to inspire the Indian diaspora to be a force for good through collaboration, community engagement and catalyzing social change.
IAP is expected to grow in the coming years from about $1 billion currently to $3 billion per year, according to the press release.