Proma Dewanjee brings hope to India


Photo Courtesy of Proma Dewanjee

Dewanjee changes lives by helping women in India who struggle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Brooke Wasson, features editor

Many students aspire to be an influential figure in one way or another but do not necessarily get the opportunity to achieve this. However, for junior Proma Dewanjee, this is not the case. At first Jhankar 4 Kids was a project for her Girl Scout Gold Award, but because of how influential it was she decided to continue her mission by making it a lasting charity.

Over winter break, Dewanjee traveled to Kolkata, India to teach the Indian instrument Harmonium to women with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as children with deformities from childbirth.

“I started Jhankar 4 Kids because I wanted to create an individual charity organization, and since I am very passionate about music I wanted to incorporate that,” junior Proma Dewanjee said. “I decided to teach them about music theory as well as dealing with anxiety and stress throughout the use of music therapy. Also I chose India because that is where my parents are from, so each time I go there I see how children are in poverty stricken areas so seeing that inspired me to try to improve the life over there.”

Due to the personal connection Dewanjee has to this mission, she decided to take her project to the next level by continuing the work she had started. Now, the money raised through Jhankar 4 Kids is directed towards underprivileged children in India who need life changing surgeries.

“While I was in India I was really inspired to do something different, so instead of making a temporary Girl Scout Gold Award I decided to continue the organization,” Dewanjee said. “Through this I was honestly so affected it changed how I thought about things, so I started this lasting charity organization. Creating this allowed me to realize how lucky I am to live here, which is something not everyone gets to experience first hand.”

As a sixteen-year-old high school student living in America, Dewanjee is not able to promote her organization alone. She needs helpers in India to raise more money for surgeries to help children who can’t walk or help heal women with mental illnesses.

“Internationally I have people working in India that are apart of the volunteer work over there,” Dewanjee said. “Their jobs include answering my contact emails and helping with publicity. The publicity is very important so they would call up news channels and newspapers and this would help put my name out there. It’s much harder to spread knowledge of a cause over there because I am busy trying to spread the word over here, so through fundraising my workers over there are able to help spread the word.”

Even though this organization is centered around changing lives in India, anyone from around the world  can help achieve Dewanjee’s vision by donating through the Jhankar 4 Kids website.

“People should donate to this organization because living in America you have so many more opportunities and there are so many influential people in your life, such as teachers or friends or your family, and they are going to look out for you and help you,” Dewanjee said. “However this does not apply to the kids in India, some of their mothers are just beggars on the streets or in some cases they are into prostitution. The kids are left with no one to turn to, but they need money, rehab and mental therapy because they have gone through so much. So I think it is really important for people to make a difference and donate to this cause because it will help change a life.”