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We are a student-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aiming to improve the overall quality of life of the residents of Ananthaiahgaripalli, a rural village in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is our conviction that education will provide villagers with the tools to better their sub-par standard of living. For this reason, the project will construct and open a primary and secondary school in the village’s vicinity, welcoming children from the area to attend. The facilities will be free of charge in order to accommodate poor village children. We will also implement a clean water system to supplement the children's education. We recognize the ambitious nature of our project. We are confident, however, that with your support, we can improve the lives of the poor -- one child at a time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Midnight thoughts

It is simultaneously overwhelming and humbling to take a moment to consider the magnitude of the world. The feats we have accomplished in such a short period of time relative to the history of this earth is breathtaking - organized society, agriculture, infrastructure, language and text, transportation, the internet - I could go on and on detailing the accomplishments I most admire, but then no one would reach the main point of this post.

Most of these accomplishments have been achieved in the last two thousand years - or, 100 generations of humans. And in each of these generations, multiple prodigies were born who were capable of transforming a simple piece of metal into an airplane, a string instrument into a timeless concerto, and a mere plug into an electrical pacemaker capable of sustaining life when a heart is too weak to carry on.

We spend so much time for ourselves: mastering a new ethnic dish to taste, perusing the internet to curiously inspect the lives of our peers, or even catching up with an acquaintance over a drink. Yet if we spend a fraction of that time on someone in need, we may just be able to discover the next prodigy.

The world's second most populous nation, India, boasts approximately 1.2 billion citizens (the equivalent of 17.3% of the world's population). Unfortunately, out of those individuals, only 66% are literate. Imagine not being able to read; you would have no access to the wealth of knowledge that novels, newspapers, textbooks, magazines, and the internet can provide. Imagine that everything you know has been handed down or experienced first-hand. Now imagine, you are severely limited by the knowledge you can obtain from others. Illiteracy is an epidemic; often entire communities are afflicted and are left without sufficient resources or access to information. Where do you go about even beginning to understand the complexities of the world beyond your doorstep, or even the simplicities? How can you feel motivated to create goals? The inspiration to do anything other than survive and conduct your life accordingly diminishes.

I feel heart-broken when I think of the countless and often forgotten lives that are severely limited by a lack of education. With the black cloud of poverty comes setbacks and tragedies. The worst tragedy arises from a dearth of knowledge: a reason to live. We all are able to list reasons why we want to live: multiple people, places, things, ideas that make our world spin. But how limited, in scope and insight, is the will to live for those who have not even begun to scratch the surface of this incredible planet?

This post was sparked by a heartwarming TED video I recently viewed:

I urge you to watch this video and feel inspired to grant at least one more person the capacity to make their own list of "things that are awesome".

Have a wonderful week,