Youth ambassador for AIF raises money for children of laborers in India

The American Bazaar

Maya Thakore is a sophomore at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. Her interests include playing basketball and the violin. Thakore holds a deep passion for education, which motivated her to work with children of migrant laborers in India through American India Foundation’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP).

LAMP educates and nurtures children in areas of high seasonal migration, by providing them with access to continuous, quality and age appropriate education.

Thakore is also one of the co-founders of the AIF New England Youth Ambassadors. The Youth Ambassador Program is an immersive service-learning and cultural exchange program for American and Indian high school students to come together and experience firsthand the development challenges facing underserved communities in India.

Thakore spoke of her work in India, in an interview to The American Bazaar. Excerpts of the interview:

Why did the issue of children of migrant laborers’ interest you?

I found the story of the children of migrant laborers’ compelling because of my commitment to education. I believe that education can be the “difference-maker” in people’s lives as it propels them to have the knowledge to make choices that will benefit them. Without education these children have little access to jobs other than farming, which increases the chances that their children will also fail to get formally educated- thereby promoting the vicious cycle of poverty. The cyclical nature of this problem makes it even more important, as it allows my assistance to transcend generations.

What exactly did you do to help in that area?

My sister Priya and I were able to surpass our goal of $10,000, and raise over $12,000, thereby making us the second largest fundraisers in the country, within the AIF Young Ambassador Program. We were able to give enough money to educate 246 children in India and we are so glad to be able to make such a meaningful impact in their lives. We are so grateful to everyone who helped us reach our goal, and we are so lucky to be involved with an organization as amazing as AIF.

Share with us some of the lessons that you have learnt through this experience.

I learned that to fundraise effectively you must reach out to everyone, within your capacity. I also recognized how charitable people were, and how receptive they were to this cause. I think that AIF is responsible for this as they are a very respected organization and are very transparent with where the money goes.

How do you think you can take your work with children of migrant laborers through AIF, to the next level?

I’m really looking forward to be able to help hands-on this summer when I go to India on the Youth Ambassador trip to Bengaluru. We are focused on helping these children while creating an outlet for social responsibility. The most fulfilling part of this process for me is that I can, not only raise money to help, but also be a constructive part of the teaching process.

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