Hello, my name is Kavish Kondap, a junior at Francis Parker School, and a head Youth Ambassador for the Akshaya Patra San Diego Chapter. First hearing about Akshaya Patra’s mission over a year ago, I found myself intrigued by its unique goal, and immediately knew I wanted to become deeply involved. The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s specific focus on the juxtaposition between hunger and education spoke to my passion for helping others. Hunger, the intangible force that plagues provinces across India, remains a seemingly insurmountable obstacle for millions of unfortunate souls, preventing them from receiving adequate education. Having mentored across San Diego in the past, I recognized the integral nature of proper education in long-term success.
Realizing the ramifications of COVID-19 only served to worsen the turmoil of countless Indian communities, I resolved to organize my own campaign through Akshaya Patra to help remedy the situation. Wanting to honor the upcoming Holi festival, I decided to create handmade, vibrant tie-dye shirts to sell to customers around San Diego, and worked with the Akshaya Patra Youth Ambassadors to make the project successful. Although my community lacked in-person Holi events, through my tie-dye shirts, we still celebrated the festival of colors.
Continuing onwards, the San Diego Youth Ambassadors and I organized the Sapling Drive, raising over $4,000 in a matter of days. Furthermore, by managing summer camps for students, I had the privilege to uphold Akshaya Patra’s value for education in my own community as well, whilst raising over $1,000 to donate to the foundation.
To date, I, along with the San Diego Youth Ambassadors, have organized multiple Akshaya Patra events, garnering thousands of attendees, and raising over $25,000—the equivalent of nearly a quarter of a million mid-day meals for children in need. As the residual effects of the pandemic rescind, I look forward to expanding my Akshaya Patra campaigns further, whether it be tie-dye shirts, sapling drives, or cricket matches. I’m incredibly thankful to be given the opportunity to express my Indian culture through community-building events, and am fortunate to have been able to raise funds for Akshaya Patra. Unfortunately, hunger pervades all aspects of Indian society. However, through my activism, I hope to rectify the institutionalized challenges facing countless individuals in the status quo.