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Mona Patel inspires a group of fellow amputees to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

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Mona Patel with her boyfriend, George Jahant, while climbing Machu Picchu.

Mona Patel with her boyfriend, George Jahant, while climbing Machu Picchu.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Mona Patel, an Indian-American woman from Texas who had her right leg amputated below the knee when she was 17 years old, recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. More over, she led a group of eight men, all of whom are amputees themselves, to the top of the mountain last year, as well.

Patel also runs the non-profit San Antonio Amputee Foundation.

“I truly did not see myself here,” said Patel, who lost her leg after being struck by a drunk driver when she was a teenager. “I know that I’m here because my accident was a platform that I was fortunately able to use for good— for myself and my community.”

The San Antonio Amputee Foundation did not earn non-profit status until 2014, after it had already been in existence for about two decades at Patel’s expense. The foundation seeks to connect local amputees to resources, like prosthetics, and provides needs-based financial assistance for home and car modifications. The foundation also runs a support group, which hosts 30-50 people at monthly meetings.

“[The support group] is very, very diverse in terms of ages, levels of amputation, circumstances, causes of amputations and stages of where they are in their recovery process,” Patel said.

“We celebrate each other; it’s just become another family.”

About four years ago, Patel met her boyfriend on Match.com, whom she credits with encouraging her to seek out and tackle physical challenges she’d normally stray from.

About four years ago, Patel met her boyfriend on Match.com, whom she credits with encouraging her to seek out and tackle physical challenges she’d normally stray from.

Before she began her first 19,341- foot journey up Kilimanjaro —  the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world — her boyfriend wanted to see how she would fare in a less-elevated climate. George Jahant suggested she first give Machu Picchu a try, which stands at 7,972 feet, and allows travelers much friendlier access via hiking the Inca Trail.

The two climbed the mountain in four days.

“As soon as George [and] I came back from doing the Inca Trail is when my mind started shifting from Kilimanjaro being just a personal goal to including other amputees,” she said.

With the first challenge behind them, Patel began seeking out the services of a four-person medical crew for the Kilimanjaro venture. Then, she sought out a crew of amputees for the climb.

“Our motto was, ‘For those willing to overcome, we will show the world you can walk among the clouds,’” Patel said.

For a year leading up to the Dec. 2015 trek, Patel assisted in the outfitting of the male climbers with the necessary equipment required for the trip and ensured all vaccinations and medication were issued and fundraised to cover expenses — a $25,000 donation was made by San Antonio-based James Avery jewelers helped cover trip funds for a three-man film crew that would document the Cloud Walkers’ trek.

Patel said the greatest challenge of the climb was during summit day, where the Cloud Walkers were met with gusting 30 mph winds for almost 24 hours of their hike, with temperatures below freezing to accompany the journey.

 

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Indiaspora releases 2021 government leaders list featuring over 200 members of Indian diaspora

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Indiaspora Releases 2021 Government Leaders List | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Nonprofit Indiaspora released their list recognizing more than 200 members of the Indian diaspora who are leaders in their countries’ governments. The leaders span the globe, with more than 60 holding Cabinet-level positions.

More than 32 million people of Indian origin live outside of India, the largest diaspora population in the world.

After entertaining pitches from a number of Indian states, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa declared Tesla will set up its Indian production in his state. An electric vehicle pioneer, analysts forecast India could generate 5% of Tesla’s revenue in the next 5 years.

The late Indian American scientist Narinder Singh Kapany, the father of fiber optics, received a posthumous Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest award. Singh died last year at the age of 94.

An Indian physicist’s revolutionary Black Hole research is turning 50 years old. C.V. Vishveshwara died in 2017, but his work lives on and continues to be honored. The Indian Association for General Relativity and Gravitation and The International Centre for Theoretical Sciences held an event in India to discuss the implications of Vishveshwara’s breakthrough. And now colleagues in his field around the world continue to be astounded at his research. Building off the work of Albert Einstein, Vishveshwara found that Black Holes had a structure, and if you banged on it, would vibrate like a bell. He first published this finding in the science journal “Nature.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Search continues for 12 yr old Arunay Pruthi lost at sea.

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One Month Since Arunay Pruthi’s Loss At Sea | Diya TV News

FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV)  — It’s been a month since 12 year old Arunay Pruthi disappeared off the California coast. And while his family and their Fremont neighbors are devastated by his apparent loss, they continue to hold out hope they will find out what happened to the 7th grader. Pruthi was caught by dangerous surf at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay and his father said he just drifted away. Despite hundreds of volunteers scouring the area, Pruthi hasn’t been seen since. There is a $50,000 reward for information leading to his discovery.

31 year old Ashwani Jain announced he’s running to become Maryland’s next governor. The Democrat recently ran unsuccessfully for Montgomery, Maryland City Council. He’s also a former Obama administration official.

Sean Desai made history, as he was named the Chicago Bears new defensive coordinator, making him the first Indian American ever to receive a coordinator job in the NFL. The 37 year old served as an assistant coach for several years before this promotion. Desai started his coaching career at Temple University, where he also received a doctorate in educational administration.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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UN: Avoid Pakistani airlines over fake pilot licence scandal

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UN: Avoid Pakistani Airlines Over Fake Pilot Scandal | Diya TV News

SANTA CLARA (Diya TV) — The United Nations is telling its staff and partner agencies to avoid flying on all Pakistani airlines as the country continues to deal with a fake pilot license scandal. The warning means UN staff in Pakistan will be unable to fly internationally or domestically with these airlines, creating a travel nightmare.

The National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers is increasing its stake in soccer club Leeds United to 37 percent. And Indian American Paraag Marathe has been tapped to become Vice Chairman of the English Premier League team. Marathe will lead day to day operations and be more involved in the decision making process. The executive is still the 49ers Vice President of Football Operations, essentially the right hand man to owner Jed York.

As more foreign companies turn their backs on the United States, China and India are taking advantage. Direct investment in the US by overseas companies plummeted 49 percent last year according to a recent study. China’s grew by four percent to $163 billion. In India, foreign direct investment skyrocketed 13 percent last year to $57 billion. Policies allowing more foreign companies like Ikea and Uniqlo to open stores and increasing the country’s manufacturing base are some of the reasons for this growth.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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