Two sisters from Georgia, both National Gold Award Girl Scouts in the United States, pay homage to their Indian grandmother, Dr. Subhash Sharma’s, legacy and spirit of service by doing volunteer work in a country, hundreds of miles away from home.
Dr. Sharma, who passed away in 2015 due to oral cancer, was a pediatrician who provided free treatment to poor families of the slums of Delhi, India through her hospital “The Neelok Medical Center”.
Hoping to follow in their grandmother’s footsteps, sisters Siya and Himani Kalra, gold award winning girl scouts of 2020 and 2021 respectively, undertook community service projects that would help transform lives in India.
Siya Kalra’s Help a Child Smile
When Siya's grandmother passed away in 2015 from oral cancer, she learnt that the disease claims the life of one person each hour globally and that dental disease is one of the most illnesses that affect children. However, deaths were preventable by early detection and treatment.
Determined to lower incidences of oral cancer and dental disease, Siya started the project “Help a Child Smile”. The initiative was focused on treating pediatric dental disease in low-income children and their families located in Georgia, USA, and the Bhalswa Slum District of Delhi, India.
Help a Child Smile offers early childhood education, free dental supply distribution, and connects low-income families to low-cost oral healthcare.
In honor of her grandmother’s medical practice, Siya also founded the Neelok Foundation, named after the medical center her grandmother ran in Delhi. The nonprofit has been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award in USA.
Himani Kalra’s Save the Girl Child
2021 Gold award Girl Scout, Himani founded the nonprofit Save the Girl Child, in 2018, with the goal of ending female gendercide and infanticide, which is the killing of female adults, children or infants.
Himani, worked to end the social evil in both her native country and her current homeland. In India, her organization partnered with the Ekai Foundation to set up five village schools in India that provide free education for 225 girls. Along with the gold medal, her initiative also earned her the Daily Point of Light award.
In a statement released by the points of light website Himani said, “If I’m giving a writing notebook to a girl in the slum, I’ll see her face light up in excitement at the thought of a gift. To her, it might just be a gift, but I know it’s an opportunity for her, something that could turn her life around. Just seeing how these girls transform into confident young woman who have hope for their future and are valued and empowered. That’s the most rewarding.”
Talking about her sister and her experience as girl scouts Himani said on Facebook, “Our projects are in honor and memory of our grandmother Dr.Subhash Sharma. They represent some of the values she stood for and believed in – medical care for low-income communities, support of girl equality, belief in education, and empowerment of girls.”