Making a difference across the world

A shared experience of a student volunteer of Uplift Humanity.

Misri Patel


Photo Credit: Shivani Patel

Playing around with the orphan, Rohit Patel smiles on his last day with us.

By: Misri Patel, Fall Reporter

This past summer, 30 students and I from all over the United States of America were given the opportunity to go back to our roots in search of a place to make a difference.

As we live in a world blinded by luxury, we are born thinking everyone has the same education and opportunities we have. Education is something we don’t even see as a gift because it something in which we are accustomed. However, all around the world there are millions of orphans which see education as such a big gift to their lives.

This summer I flew with another volunteer, Shivani Patel, to another country around the world to make a difference to children in need, with a program called Uplift Humanity. Uplift Humanity is a program where every summer, passionate teenagers volunteer to go to India to teach children in orphanages and juvenile homes.  Volunteers travel to teach underprivileged children, but in the process end up transforming their own lives.

This eye opening experience showed me what impact could be made on such a small child. Uplift Humanity taught me the real needs in my life. Seeing these kids dressed in the same clothes everyday showed me how much I really have in my life. Having a closet full of clothes and still complaining on not having nothing to wear, is one of the many things that then transformed me.

Sharing a room with 12 others, having one small shelf to keep all your belongings, washing your own clothes by hand, sweeping your own floor, waking up at five with no alarm, sleeping in rooms with 12 others without air conditioning are all first world problems to us  since we are living in the 21st century. Volunteers then asked the kids on how they feel about the orphanage. They told us that is the best gift God has given to them and they couldn’t have asked for anything better.

If I was going to execute my thoughts and teaching was something that not only did I have, but something that 30 other students had. After seeing the kids for the first time, the kids were very passionate in learning everything we taught them. Everyday us volunteers took 2-3 hours to prep for the next day, from making activities to practicing words we weren’t familiar with.  Us volunteers speaking in our native language, trying to help the kids learn a little more of English was something they looked forward to everyday. Helping them build a support system, and teaching them the rights and wrongs is something they smiled to learn. From doing group activities, to arts and crafts is something that showed the happiness they had in them.

Technology is something we see as something small, since we live in America. The simple use of the camera on a phone showed so much excitement in every single one of them. An orphan, Megha Patel, a sibling of a twin and a younger brother who were also orphans was asked, “Have you been able to use a cell phone before? How do like the use of it?” Her response being, “No ever since my siblings and I were abandoned by my parents we have never used a cellphone nor have we seen such advanced ones like this. I love using this cellphone so much, that when I grow older I hope I achieve my dream so I can get something like this.”

Every single kid there was in need of someone to trust, and Uplift Humanity had us volunteers be there for them. Throughout the time we were there, we also saw how ambitious each and every one of the kids is. Each of them had a goal set in mind of what they wanted to do in the future. One of the orphans, Jhanvi, wanted to follow the footsteps of her mom and become a nurse. Another orphan, Rahul, has a dream of coming to America one day and getting a PHD in English so he can then teach underprivileged children.

Seeing these students having such big dreams and following footsteps of ones who have abandoned them show us of how much we dream in our lives. What we taught these kids is something they will never forget, but the things that these kids have taught me is something that has turned my life upside down. Now seeing what the real needs in my life is one of the many things that will never be forgotten.

Ending this journey was the hardest it’s ever been to say a goodbye, tears dropping from every volunteer’s face had the orphans not wanting to let go of us. Such close bonds that wanted us to to just stay there forever. The orphans asking us, If we will see them again next year, was something we had to say no too but it wasn’t possible at the time. Saying bye to the kids was the toughest goodbye I had ever said. To this day, I tell anyone and everyone to go and take this experience to not only make a child’s life change but also yours. Uplift Humanity has given me the best life changing experience I will ever receive.