Uplift Humanity (see Facebook page here), founded in 2011, is an organization that works towards enabling American youth to empower juveniles in India through education. Since our initial launch in Vadodara, Uplift Humanity has established four juvenile rehabilitation centers throughout the Indian subcontinent including locations in Indore and Hyderabad. The latest addition to Uplift’s growth comes with the launch of its newest location in India’s capital, New Delhi.
Uplift Humanity, a passion project of Founder Anish Patel, strives to empower juveniles in India to break the cycle of recidivism and achieve their full potential through education.
“I started Uplift Humanity with no idea that it would become a growing and sustainable non-profit organization. I founded it as a summer program where we would take a few American teenagers to India to volunteer and work with juveniles behind bars for a few weeks. Now, it has grown tremendously and we are educating hundreds of orphans and juveniles in India throughout the entire year.”
Through various programs, Uplift Humanity India seeks to aid juvenile development, instill ambition and provide these children with the resources to materialize their ambitions. One such way is Uplift Humanity’s summer rehabilitation program through which the organization takes 75 volunteer students from the United States to one of the four rehabilitation facilities in India. Volunteers teach orphans and juveniles life skills such as moral decision-making, self-esteem development, self–maintenance, daily etiquette and public speaking. Most importantly, we work to build close relationships with the juveniles and show them we care, something these juveniles are not accustomed to.
As part of the summer rehabilitation program, Uplift Humanity introduced a social media challenge for the 75 volunteers traveling abroad with the organization, titled: Uplifting the Veil: A Look through the Corrective Lens. The purpose of this challenge was to convey life inside the rehabilitative and transitory facilities located in India. Volunteers were asked to create a video using their smartphones and document their experience within the facilities. The videos, not to exceed in more than 3 minutes, urged volunteers to be creative, impactful and send a powerful message. Videos were judged by British singer-songwriter, Arjun, the brand ambassador for Uplift Humanity.
Arjun selected Ruchir Nanavati, as the title winner along with a $2000 scholarship. Ruchir’s video was picked for its impactful story and its sentiments. It was an eye-opener displaying the mindsets of the juveniles and orphans in India in addition to the living conditions and environment of these children. Ruchir creatively developed the video to effectively connect with other teenagers in the United States making his video impactful and ultimately go viral.
The Uplifting the Veil winner, Ruchir had the following to say,
“Uplifting the Veil allowed me to bring life to a three week life changing experience. It served as my outlet to display my experience and show the world what we encountered. I felt it was important to give light to our experience as it was a true sentiment to what life is really like for these kids. We were able to give the students something to look forward to. They wanted to learn, and more importantly, they wanted to learn from us. These kids haven’t been able to express themselves before and we’re finally providing them the outlet to do just that.”
After successfully running the summer programs for two years, Uplift Humanity launched a Continuation Program that makes a larger impact by educating juveniles and orphans throughout the entire year by providing English and technology literacy through local volunteers. The continuity program is perhaps the most crucial element of the on- site work at juvenile centers. As a part of the program, local Indian educators make weekly visits to the juvenile facilities, in order to administer lessons on a year round basis. The continuity program provides UH with a year-long period of evaluation of the juvenile class, allowing making more informed decisions about scholarship grants and educational sponsorships for program graduates. In fact, each year, Uplift Humanity awards those juveniles who have transformed the most with scholarships totaling over Rs. 150,000 ($2500) across all of its locations.
In March 2015, Uplift Humanity also released A Look Inside, narrated by Hollywood Actress Janina Gavankar. This short film brings to light the injustices occurring in India’s institutionalized facilities, and highlights what Uplift Humanity is doing to combat this problem.
About Uplift Humanity
Criminals are often created from children who have experienced gross neglect and poverty as children. They fall into the same habits, the same crimes, and the same people their surroundings provide them with. They are victims of recidivism. Uplift Humanity India is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of juvenile inmates in South Asia. Its founding motto epitomizes the method by which it seeks to empower youth through hands-on education, mentoring, and technology training. Uplift Humanity’s goal is to spread its specialized curriculum throughout the continent to give youth opportunities to flourish once they reenter society.