While most kids spend their days on bicycles or playing video games, Neha Gupta took a different approach. At just nine years old, she founded the non-profit Empower Orphans to help orphaned and underprivileged children in India.
“Many impoverished young women in India end up on the streets and are forced into prostitution,” she wrote in her Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship Award application. “I was determined to prevent this situation within my circle of influence.”
Needless to say, she did a fantastic job. For her first fundraiser, she sold all her toys to raise money for school books for orphans.Today, the organization has raised over $1,300,000 and helped 25,000 children in India and the United States by opening libraries and computer centers, funding health clinics, installing water filtration centers, and donating home goods. One of her proudest achievements has been founding a sewing center in northern India, where young women learn to sew, a skill that allows them to earn a living.
These experiences have forever changed Neha, who attends Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, PA, and will attend Georgetown University in the fall. “Each success story has opened my eyes to the power of what ONE person can do. Empower Orphans has allowed me to find my voice and to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”