Mountain View Voice

News - April 30, 2010

Saint Francis teen helps school in India

Visit to Bangalore suburb leads to fundraising effort

by Andrea Gemmet

Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India, but in the shadow of its huge IT companies are schools without electricity, let alone classroom computers. It was a startling discovery for Mountain View resident Vivek Vinayak, who saw the schools while he was visiting family in India last year.

"I got a shock to see there was no running water or electricity, because the government wouldn't pay for them," said Vinayak, a junior at Saint Francis High School.

Vinayak, 16, said he decided to help, so he's tapped friends and family to raise money for one of the schools, Government Higher Primary School in Mahalaxmipuram, a suburb of Bangalore. His Web site, www.tinyurl.com/ghp-school, features photos, testimonials from his donors and Vinayak's plans for the funds he raises.

"I talked to the principal and said I wanted to help, and she was extremely grateful," he said.

Vinayak said he's raised $1,000 so far, and sent a first installment of $200 to the school to cover several months of electricity, he said. He just sent a second check to pay for a new roof, and future installments will pay for books and other school supplies, he said.

He's hoping to expand his pool of donors by getting public service announcements placed on KLOK 1170 AM, a radio station that carries Indian programming. He's also seeking ideas and help from his high school.

"I want to raise awareness that there are places where basic needs are not met and if each one of us does something, we will make a difference," Vinayak said.

Comments

Posted by Karina, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Vivek is an inspiration to all of us! We applaud your efforts and thank you for making a difference in the world at such a young age.


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