A Lehigh University graduate student service club founded to help Indian students adjust to life at Lehigh is now working to help others. The India Club, started in Apr. 2004, is conducting a computer drive to aid underprivileged children in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
The Asha Lehigh chapter is hoping to send an initial shipment of about 100 computers to the developing countries by Dec. 31, 2004. These computers will be inspected and packed by India Club members and sent through World Computer Exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world’s poorest youth to bridge the global divides in information, technology, and understanding.
“A lot of children don’t get much education in India,” says Sandhya Eswaran, India Club president and a doctoral chemical engineering student. “We’re helping to build a basic foundation for education.”
Catalyzing socio-economic change in India
The computer drive is the latest in a series of events and projects organized by the India Club, which was founded to improve the interaction between Indian students, to help new students from India adjust to Lehigh, and to improve the interaction between Indian students and the rest of the international community at Lehigh.
In the span of just a few months, the group traveled to Niagara Falls, the Delaware Water Gap and Washington, D.C., and they sponsored a henna tattoo night and an Indian Classical Music Night.
The group also created the India Club Service Committee, which has participated in the South Side Clean Up and the Diabetes Walk for America.
“The India Club has been doing a great job in creating a real sense of community among our graduate students,” says Karen Huang, director of Graduate Student Life. “Even though they are busy with academics, they still find time to work on worthwhile causes, like organizing this computer drive. I commend them for their tremendous leadership and all their hard work.”
Partnering with Asha for Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to catalyzing socio-economic change in India through the education of underprivileged children, members started a local Asha Lehigh chapter to help areas beyond U.S. borders.
Once members established the local chapter, they began searching for projects and eventually partnered with the Yale Asha chapter in their computer drive. “The Asha chapter at Yale collects computers and ships them to organizations in India,” says Venkatram Muddhasani, a doctoral electrical and computer science engineering student. “We were just starting out at the time with our own chapter, and their computer drive seemed like the perfect idea.”
Asha chapters in the United States work in conjunction with chapters in India to create awareness and gather resources to send to India. “Here in the United States, it’s very easy to access and obtain new computers often, but the computers they are replacing are still in good condition and usable,” says Eswaran. “So we figured why not take these used computers and send them to children that can use them in their education.”
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to donate their surplus and/or obsolete working lap top and desktop Pentium and Power Macintosh computers, printers, networking and other equipment. The computer drive is open to anyone.
To learn more about the project or to donate your old computer, please contact the India Club Service Club via email or via phone at 610.533.8656 or 484.347.7552