Vivek, Vandana and Arshia Sharma on Philanthropy, AIF and the Sharma Family Foundation Work

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BOSTON—The Vandana and Vivek Sharma Family Foundation has supported a number of non-profit initiatives in India and in the United States. A few years ago, they provided a generous grant, spread over seven years, to help AIF improve, and strengthen health, education and livelihoods for more than 10,000 adolescent girls in Uttarakhand, India.

This adolescent girls’ health initiative supported by the Sharma Foundation has evolved into Project SAHELI, or  Support Adolescent Health, Education and Livelihoods Initiative. It is an integrated project that combines the three AIF program verticals—health, education and livelihoods—and aims to create a generational impact on adolescent girls in the Dugadda and Yamkeshwar blocks of Pauri district in Uttarakhand.

In an exclusive video interview with INDIA New England News, Vivek, Vandana and their daughter Arshia talk about philanthropy and their involvement with AIF.

To watch the full interview, please click here, or on the image below.

The Sharma Family Foundation’s seven-year SAHELI project with AIF will impact thousands of 10 to 19-year-old girls, alleviating malnutrition, improving sexual and reproductive health including menstrual hygiene, providing quality education, and supporting both in- and out-of-school adolescent girls with skills and job opportunities.

The project has so far trained 70 adolescent girls as fashion designers, linked 8 girls with employment, and empowered 22 to start their own garment construction businesses.

SAHELI has just had its thrilling first fashion show, highlighting the exemplary designs of 40 underserved girls trained as “assistant fashion designers” under the initiative.

The event drew more than 200 spectators. It gave the SAHELI beneficiaries in Dugadda a chance to display their talents, raise awareness, and bring buyers and government representatives and policymakers together under one roof.

In the coming year, SAHELI will train computer programmers as well as fashion designers, train twice as many students for competitive exams and improve the nutrition outcome of participating girls.

Vivek built his success leading several healthcare companies. Vandana is a long-standing friend of AIF.

The couple share a strong belief in helping others and want to enhance their philanthropic efforts significantly. Arshia, an 11th grader at Brooks School, has been volunteering and documenting the life of girls of her age in the remote region of Yamkeshwar, a village in Uttaranchal under an AIF grant program, where she also made a visit this year.

The American India Foundation is committed to catalyzing social and economic change in India and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India through high-impact interventions in education, livelihoods, public health, and leadership development, with a particular emphasis on empowering girls and women to achieve gender equity. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact. Founded in 2001 at the initiative of President Bill Clinton following a request from Prime Minister Vajpayee, AIF has impacted the lives of 12.9 million of India’s poor in 35 states and union territories.

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