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Matt Thekkethala – Founder

Hi, I’m Matt Thekkethala. I’m a senior at Yale University where I am challenged every day to think globally. I developed a passion for children’s education while volunteering and living at Sneha Care Home and Snehagram, two residential institutions for HIV+ orphaned or abandoned children and adolescents in rural India. I am very proud that the Snehagram holistic model that I helped pioneer has helped many of our HIV+ students receive their high school diplomas, a first for any program of this kind in India.

At Yale, I co-founded the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association (YULAA) and worked with the New Haven Legal Aid Assistance to support U-Visa and VAWA applicants. I also co-founded the Yale Human Rights Society and led the weekly ‘Wilbur Cross Human Rights Workshop’ that engaged New Haven high school students with domestic and international human rights issues. I also conducted research on trafficking of minors in Connecticut which culminated in the presentation of a memorandum amending a trafficking statute at the Connecticut State Legislature.

My extended family and friends inspire me with their passion and commitment to make a difference in our community and the world. I created the Learn for Life Foundation to inspire young people in developing communities around the world to make a difference in their worlds. I want to teach my students to think of themselves as global citizens, each of who can change the world through the power of education. Please join me in making a difference in their lives. matt@learnforlifefoundation.org

 

RaniG ResizedRani George: Program Coordinator (India)
Sneha Care honored Rani as the “2012 Volunteer of the Year” for her active involvement with the children’s programs and part-time teaching. In her words, “Following the loss of my parents and my brother in 2008, the children of Sneha Care and Snehagram have become an addiction. It has been wonderful to work with the kids and watch them change, grow and give back more than I can possibly give them. My years in Mother Teresa’s City of Joy, Kolkotta, kindled in me a passion to give back in whatever way I could, and Sneha Care became my home away from home in Bangalore”. Rani received her bachelor’s degree in history from Stella Maris College, Chennai where she was Vice President of the student union and was actively involved in volunteering for social causes.

 

Ruhie BakshiRuhie Bakshi: Program Coordinator (USA)
Hi, I’m Ruhie Bakshi, a junior at University High School in Tucson, Arizona. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to make an impact on the world and help others. I’ve been able to accomplish this, thanks to my supportive family and community here in Tucson.

 

 

 

Neil BjorkmanNeil Bjorkman: Legal Advisor (USA)
Neil Bjorkman is the Vice President for Legislative Affairs at US India Strategic Partnership Forum.  He is the forum’s lead advocate on Capitol Hill, encouraging the U.S. Congress to adopt laws that will deepen the bilateral relationship and spur trade with India. In his previous role, he was credited with helping secure India’s status as a “major defense partner” of the United States. He served as the Policy Counsel for the Majority staff of the Committee on Rules in the United States House of Representatives, where he handled Chairman Pete Sessions’ India portfolio. In 2007-2008, Neil served as the Judicial Clerk to Justice Dalveer Bhandari at the Supreme Court of India, where he helped craft a landmark constitutional judgment on affirmative action in university admissions.  Neil is a graduate of Saint John’s University, speaks Hindi, Malayalam and Spanish and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 

Priya Chidrawar: Marketing & Communications Advisor (USA)
Priya has over 10 years of experience in Finance and Marketing at both startup and Fortune 500 companies. She is passionate about social causes and children’s education. She is an active member of her children’s school’s PTA and actively involved in organizing events like 5k walks for causes such as educating children, breast cancer awareness, autism awareness, jump-starting Denville downtown after Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. Priya has also been on teams preparing lunches for the poor and organizing the neighborhood “fulfill a wish” for local families. She is also a contributor to a non-profit organization that runs a school and manages a hospital in Dervan, a remote village in India. Priya has an MBA from Rutgers University.