Rina's Birthday Pledge

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Rina's Birthday Pledge

From Rina Patel

Aahana’s Birthday Pledge Campaigns are not only about raising money, but about realizing what our incredible extra one year of life really means. Read more below.

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You can donate via this Fundly page or by check. All check donations can be mailed to: 

P.O. Box 125

Oaks, PA 19456.

Why I Pledge My Birthday

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

Almost 6 years ago I met four siblings whose parents had recently died of AIDs. They were living in a nearby village in a house that was barely livable. The home they had once lived in with their parents wasn’t much of a home anymore and the conditions, due to severe weather did not help. The oldest daughter in the family who was 16 at the time, had been sent to a nearby district for marriage. The remaining three were supporting themselves from what was left behind. Although their neighbors and relatives were struggling themselves, they provided some food to the kids. 

I went to India this past December and visited their village in hopes of finding them. From their relatives and neighbors I learned that the eldest son had gone to the city, Ahmedabad to work and the young son was attending a close by boarding high school. The other daughter who had stayed behind was now married into the same family her sister was married. The siblings don’t see each other and do not come home due to their conditions and the lack of resources provided for them to stay in touch. When we take a step back from the rush of our lives, doesn’t this story, a world away, put our lives into perspective?

We live incredibly privileged lives here in the United States. I’ll admit, I sometimes find it hard to see through the dust of life. But when we find the means to see through the dust, it suddenly settles in on its own. We begin to see our lives with more clarity and are so much happier despite the circumstances.

Most of my birthdays after my 11 one, I celebrated in India. Each birthday felt like a privilege and each trip felt like a blessing. With each year, I became closer to starting Aahana and eventually found more clarity through the dust. Yes, the responsibilities grew, but as you grow older doesn’t that happen anyway?

I founded Aahana to not only change lives and provide opportunity to children in India, but to motivate and educate our generation to take action. When we step back from the world we are living in, we are exposed to things greater than ourselves. 

Aahana’s Birthday Pledge Campaigns aren’t only about raising money, but about realizing what our incredible extra one year of life really means. As we age year by year, our responsibilities grow and we grow farther from the dependent children we used to be. We become citizens of society and have the opportunity and responsibility to make it a better place for current and future generations.

I'm not sure where the next few years will take me or how I will get where I want to go, but I am blessed to have this incredible support system along the way as I figure it out. I am grateful to have a place to stand on this earth surrounded by a loving and supportive family, incredible friends, Aahana supporters, and an amazing community.

To read more about what Aahana does, visit www.aahanaindia.org. If you have any questions/comments and would like to get in touch with me, my email is [email protected]

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