Smriti Jhnigan has always wanted to make a difference with children in India, her native country, and when she took Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program in London she created a project to raise money to improve the quality of life for children at two orphanages. Her project caught the attention of Echo, a South Essex newspaper, which recently ran a feature about Jhnigan. The story is excerpted below:
My mission to help the poor kids of india
By Sarah Calkin, April 8, 2008
From a young age Smriti Jhingan has known she wanted to help the many children in India less fortunate than her; it was just a case of when and how. Visiting the country every year to see family living in northern India gave her a unique appreciation of the suffering of some Indian children.
Unsure of her next step after graduating from University College London last June with a degree in Biomedical Sciences the 21-year-old decided now was the perfect time to act. Smriti, of Norsey Road, Billericay, got to work and organised an Indian themed dinner and dance at the Wembley Plaza Hotel for later this month.
But eager to make sure any money she raised really made a difference to the lives of children, Smriti set off to the sub-continent to find a cause in need of her help. She visited two children’s homes in the city of Panchkula before opting to help a home run by the Ashiana Charity.
“It was an eye opening experience and makes you realise how lucky you are,” she said. “I used to go to India with my family and see kids with no parents looking after their brothers and sisters when they were only six or seven themselves. I knew I had to do something.”
She is hoping to raise enough funds to buy a minibus for the home to take the children to school and on days out which she hopes will improve their quality of life.
One girl’s story at the children’s home particularly touched Smriti, who is currently working as a temp in Billericay.
“She must have been about eight or nine and she told me she had seen her Dad cremated,” she recalls. “One of the other girls asked her if that was why she had been crying the night before and she said it was, the night was when she cried.”
Most of the 60 children at the home are orphans, but others have parents who just cannot look after them.
Smriti adds “I really got a sense that some of the children wanted to know that someone is looking out for them.”
To find out more about the charity or the dinner and dance which will feature an Indian meal, comedy and Bhangra dancing call 07877 897977.
To read the original story, visit Echo online.