Arvind Amin: Inspiring by Example
Arvind Amin began volunteering for Pratham USA in 2003, after attending one of its events and being “inspired by the mission and the leadership of the organization.” Just a few months later, he spearheaded the formation of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, of which he would serve as president and then in a leadership role during its first five years.
His aim, as Arvind puts it, was to inspire by example, which meant giving time and money to help the organization grow. “When you are leading a chapter for fundraising, that means you have to be able to contribute to the extent that you should,” he said. “People will look at you and say, ‘Arvind is contributing this much. Maybe I should also do my part.’”
This approach has earned him high praise from those who have worked with him over the years. “Arvind played a major role when Pratham USA was without a functioning executive director or a chairman,” notes Pratham staffer Mani Surkari, who has known Arvind for more than 10 years. “He really took charge. He is exceedingly intelligent, and he is a remarkable guy who marches to the beat of his own drum.”
A native of Gujarat, Arvind spent most of his youth in Ahmedabad city. He moved to the United States in 1974, first earning a master’s degree at Oklahoma State University and then a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1979, he has lived in Dallas, where he has worked on high-performance computing applications with several companies, most recently Intel, until retiring this June. He and his wife, Hema, an accounting manager, have two daughters, Sarika and Mena.
Despite having put down roots in the US, Arvind makes a point of volunteering three months out of the year in India. One of these visits, to Punsari, a small village in North Gujarat, became the subject of an article, when everything about the “model village” (even its Wi-Fi) turned out to be far different than expected. Read Arvind’s fascinating account of his experience here: The Tale of Punsari, which he published with the encouragement of fellow Pratham supporter Amit Shah of Phoenix.
His hope for Pratham is that “it transforms into a national institution. That is what I would like to see Pratham be, reaching a status of a well-recognized national institution for transforming education.” As for India as a whole? “It is the same hope, that India will reach its full potential and get the rural population educated.”