Stories

Sandeep’s Story: Racing to Give Children a Better Life


Dr. Sandeep Shah is an ultra runner, which means he runs 30-100 miles at a stretch. Over the years, his runs have taken the Texas resident up mountains and across the terrains of various countries and, back at home, along Austin’s hills and technical trails.

It recently dawned on Sandeep to use his passion as a way to help others, and, in 2015, he decided to raise money for Pratham by participating in the challenging 100-mile Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run.

“People ask me: ‘Why do something so hard?’ However hard it may be, it pales in comparison to the difficulties and challenges faced by impoverished youth in India.” One in five people in India, including 100 million children, cannot read or write.

Sandeep came to know about Pratham’s work to address illiteracy from his father, a former president of Pratham’s Houston chapter. He was enthusiastic about improving the lives of India’s underserved children through quality education. “These children know little of life’s pleasures; however, they persevere,” remarks Sandeep. “We have the ability to create an environment that will allow them to get an education, push themselves and end the cycle of poverty.”

Sandeep created a web page announcing his participation in the race and his reason for doing it. He talked about Pratham’s innovative and effective education programs, posted photos of the children Pratham helps, and asked people to either donate a flat fee or pledge per mile. The money began rolling in. To date, the ultra runner has raised close to $25,000—from doing something he loves.

“The most important positive action we can take on behalf of these children is not to simply give them things but to teach them to capture the breadth of their own potential, hence breaking the cycle of poverty, and allowing them to institute generational changes.”

What do YOU love to do? Start an online campaign like Sandeep and help India’s children have a brighter future.


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