(DIYA TV) — Ishaan Patel, an 8th grade student from Connecticut is tackling philanthropy at an early age: the 13-year-old Patel has launched a non-profit called Planting Pencils, dedicated to promoting education in India and empowering other school-age children around the globe. The non-profit also raises money to donate money and supplies to underfunded schools worldwide.
Ishaan’s mother, pediatrician Dr. Alpa Patel, said she wanted to instill the values of understanding the lives of those less fortunate. Her parents planted the seed of similar values in her when she was a youngster. “If we’re doing well, then we should take care of those less fortunate than us,” she said.
Ishaan told a local Connecticut newspaper he was inspired to create the non-profit after learning of his aunts trip to volunteer at underfunded schools in India and Costa Rica. He learned that even the most barebones American schools have far greater amenities than some of those abroad.
“We have all this stuff here, all this technology like smart boards, and they only have one chalkboard,” Patel said.
In an effort to learn more, Patel attended a leadership program at Stanford University last summer, and began researching the status of underserved education systems abroad. Once complete, Patel created a YouTube video with the collected data, and cited information in his report from organizations such as the United Nations.
Patel’s work hasn’t just benefited the general public, his mother has learned a few new facts from her son’s work as well.
“There’s only 2 percent of humanitarian aid going to education,” she said. “Everyone is so focused on trying to make sure people have clean water and food, but they’re not teaching them to be self-sufficient.”
Patel starting bringing collection boxes to his middle school, and began gathering whatever school supplies he could to support his efforts. Planting Pencils has already received donations totaling $5,000. He hopes to begin distributing the money and supplies domestically and internationally in the coming weeks.
Patel’s ultimate goal?
To build a school in a community which lacks one, offering daily healthy meals along with clean water for drinking and washing.