Local students launch initiative to help India

Westview High School sophomore Kavya Gupta (top center) is a co-founder of the Prerna Initiative.

A group of Westview High School students has started an initiative with a mission statement to support underprivileged children in India.

“We started this project to help educate and teach underprivileged children,” said Kavya Gupta, 15, one of four Indian-American co-founders of the nonprofit. “We felt there’s a lack of education from a teen to teen perspective, especially in topics such as mental health and physical health. We wanted to connect back with our roots, which is why we focused on finding organizations in India.”

She said their organization, called the Prerna Initiative, has connected via Zoom with a couple different organizations in India.

“We hope to expand to different organizations,” Kavya said. “Right now we’re actually working with two organizations in India and we’re teaching around 40 students. We want to also expand to communities in San Diego.”

She and her classmates also want to grow an effort to send care packages to India, and recruit more volunteers.

“We hope to send necessary things such as masks and hand sanitizer, especially in these times,” Kavya said, adding that the group also wants to send toys and other items.

Many of the students they have been in touch with also rely on cell phones as their main digital device. The students in the Prerna Initiative hope to one day be able to provide them with laptops or other upgrades to the technology they use.

“We just wanted to spread the message throughout the community and get some support for our project,” Kavya said.

The Prerna Initiative is also raising money through a GoFundMe page to support its programs and plans to expand. In addition, the group wants to hold in-person fundraisers after pandemic-related public health restrictions are lifted.

For more information, visit prernainitiative.wixsite.com/theprernainitiative. For details about the organization’s fundraising, visit gofundme.com/f/the-prerna-initiative-fundraiser/donate.