Vibrant South Asian was inspired by the idea of breaking down stereotypes associated with South Asian countries by educating our community about positive attributes of the region. We recognized that many people in our community were enthusiastic to learn about these countries but needed guidance and resources.While connecting our community to South Asia was important to us, we also wanted to do something to give back to the vibrant region of South Asia. Filled with rich cultures and traditions, this region is also home to areas of extreme poverty. We decided we wanted to do something to improve access to education. It seemed fitting that we would focus on educating our community about South Asia while enabling the people of that region to obtain an education that could improve their lives. We contemplated various ways of improving access to education and eventually decided to focus our efforts on building libraries in impoverished areas of the countries.
Libraries entered the discussion because my wife, Surbhi, had helped her dad build a library in the village of Dharodhi, India while in high school. One of the things that resonated with her was the pride that the people took in having a library in their village. They may not always have access to running water or electricity but their village was the one that had books and a computer. We also realized that a library could allow people of all ages and genders access to knowledge, something a traditional school may be unable to provide. Often families are unable to afford tuition, school uniforms, books, or even unable to spare children an entire work day to allow them to attend school. A library allows everyone access to some form of knowledge and may even provide an opportunity for children to keep up until they are able to return to school. It also provides space and a quiet environment to learn and do homework in villages where many families live in overcrowded homes that are not conducive to studying.While we were pretty sure that our contribution to the region would be libraries, it took another personal experience to cement this as the path we wanted to take.While on a trip to Agra, India, Surbhi and I visited Sheroes Cafe, a non-profit organization focused on rehabilitating acid attack victims. One of the victims that we spoke with was a bright 15-year-old girl, who had been attacked when she was 12. While she spoke about her struggles, one thing she kept coming back to was how she missed out on an education because she was too ashamed to go to school soon after she was attacked. Then, after some time had passed and she realized she shouldn’t be the one who is ashamed, she felt she was too far behind to return to school. She commented on how she wished there was a way to keep up or even catch up without actually being in school. Hearing her story reaffirmed our mission that Vibrant South Asian would try to bring an alternative way to learn to as many people as possible.
Down the line, we hope to possibly partner with some of the other wonderful non-profit organizations out there that are creating remote learning opportunities. By doing so we could enable students and adults to potentially gain formal education through resources provided in our libraries.We recognize that our goals are ambitious and it will be a challenging journey, but we are confident that with the support of our friends and family we can make them a reality.
If you have any questions about our story or our organization please contact us. Please enjoy the stories we share on our site from the vibrant South Asian region and help us spread the message throughout our community.