The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Nidhi Gupta: Fostering change thousands of miles away

Nidhi is a student at Carnegie that also works as Houstons Ekal Vidyalaya ambassador. | Image Credit: Nidhi Gupta
Nidhi Gupta
Nidhi is a student at Carnegie that also works as Houston’s Ekal Vidyalaya ambassador. | Image Credit: Nidhi Gupta

One student from Carnegie is bridging the gap between opportunities made available by higher education and underprivileged villages and tribes in India. Recognizing the power of education as a cornerstone for positive change, Senior Gupta joined the nonprofit organization Ekal Vidyalaya. She was first inspired to get involved with the nonprofit after seeing how Ekal had already improved lifestyles for villages in rural India.

“The look I saw on the kids’ face, the gratitude, the excitement, seeing how people were being empowered, that firsthand experience — it’s hard to describe, but I was mesmerized by it,” said Gupta.

According to the Indian Express, 13,500 villages in India don’t have access to schools nor other forms of common education. Ekal Vidyalaya seeks to solve that problem, amongst others rural India faces. 

“Their mission is so important. Children who would have never gotten an education are getting one and women have access to opportunities so they can be independent,” said Gupta.

Story continues below advertisement

Based on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Ekal Vidyalaya is an organization “bringing literacy, healthcare, and economic prosperity to remote villages in India” by establishing schools with a standard curriculum, creating job opportunities for teachers and building mobile computer labs amongst other digital learning opportunities. 

“We observed this all firsthand; how the kids were learning, how they were sitting on the floor outside learning, and the environment of the village,” said Gupta. 

Carnegie Vanguard’s Ekal Vidyalaya chapter is run by President Nidhi Gupta. | Image Credit: Nidhi Gupta

Ekal’s impact in India extends beyond education, encompassing healthcare, subsistent lifestyles, sustainable agriculture, artisanal development and tailoring. The organization’s holistic approach recognizes the interconnected challenges faced by rural communities. In addition to providing education, Ekal addresses health, nutrition and sanitation, promotes sustainable agricultural practices, supports traditional crafts through artisanal development and empowers individuals through vocational training in tailoring. 

“Ekal isn’t just about education. There’s women that are being empowered,” Gupta said. “They have Village Development Centers where they teach people things like sewing, composting and other farming practices that they can take back to their village and teach others — they’re training small entrepreneurs.”

Since Ekal’s establishment in 1989, they’ve created 80,000 schools of which 2.3 million students are enrolled, improved the literacy of ten million students, given access to healthcare to 855,000 people, and vocationally trained 17,400 women. It was this impact that first inspired Gupta to begin volunteering for Ekal.

Ekal Vidyalaya

“I started in ninth grade by teaching workshops and conducting virtual classes during the pandemic. That’s how I initially got connected to the organization,” said Gupta. 

Ekal volunteers set up campaigns to fundraise money, often by offering tutoring lessons or workshops. 

“I taught Spanish, Algebra I, and Algebra II by giving them content to practice with and helping them collaborate amongst themselves,” said Gupta.

After reaching out to Ekal Vidyalaya leadership, Gupta successfully initiated the establishment of a chapter at Carnegie Vanguard High School. Subsequently, Gupta took on a leadership role by inspiring fellow students to join the cause and actively volunteer. The impact of their efforts has extended beyond the school, as they have organized various fundraisers, engaging activities and community events in support of Ekal Vidyalaya throughout Carnegie and the broader Houston area. 

Notably, Gupta’s dedication and achievements in both volunteering and fundraising efforts were recognized with Ekal’s Presidential Service Award — placing Gupta among only nine global Ekal Vidyalaya youth leaders who have received this prestigious award, underscoring their outstanding commitment to philanthropy and community service.

It gives me a sense of fulfillment. This additional hobby of mine to volunteer has expanded my horizon, my whole view. I realized, ‘wow, I’m so privileged to even go to school’, because when I saw the kids in India who were so excited and grateful to just have that opportunity.

— Nidhi Gupta

Leave a Comment
Donate to Upstream News
$125
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Carnegie Vanguard High School. Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual website hosting costs and fund field trips, competition fees, and equipment. We appreciate your support!

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nadia Talanker, Entertainment Editor
Nadia is a senior at CVHS in her 4th year of writing for the Upstream. She has been writing as a hobby and competitively for nearly a decade and her favorite part about journalism is the responses to her articles. She is most interested in psychology, activism/equality, pop culture, video games, and the Olympics, which is reflected in her publications. She associates herself with several nonprofit organizations and enjoys volunteering.
Donate to Upstream News
$125
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Upstream News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *