I was looking for more cultural activities on campus. There was a club that I was a part of, but it was more about social gatherings then about cultural awareness. At the same time, I was hoping to start an organization on campus that I was passionate about it and really cared about. The problem was, I didn't know what organization to start. That's when I saw that my friend had started and was president of an organization called Aahana at her University.
Hi, I’m Rahul Kalluri and I am one of the co-presidents of the new Aahana chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I’m studying Economics and Statistics and I’m heavily involved in our student government known as the Illinois Student Senate.
In my sophomore year, a friend and I were looking to get more of an ‘Indian experience’ on campus and we couldn't find any clubs that allowed us to learn more about our culture and participate in sharing it with other students. We drafted an idea for starting our own club but, then I noticed a friend of mine posted on social media that she was the secretary for this new club called Aahana at Loyola University.
Out of all of the organizations I am a part of, Aahana has been the most fulfilling. I have learned immensely as a member of Aahana’s Speaker Series team. It has been so fulfilling putting together events that raise awareness throughout Philadelphia about global issues based on the United Nations' 8 Millennial Goals.
Social Media marketing is one of the best ways to communicate with the rest of the world. My goal is to tell the world to stop ignoring the facts, open your eyes, and join us on our journey towards change. Through the social media platforms, I spread more awareness of how Aahana provides education and empowerment to the communities.
While at Aahana, I have had complete creativity over every project that I have worked on. I created a brochure and t-shirt designs that will be sent to the printer. I spent time taking and editing pictures for our new website. I put blood, sweat, and tears into developing a fresh, modern website for Aahana. I learned a new software so I could create a motion graphic that shows exactly how and where Aahana works. I have been challenged each and every day to create my best work for an organization that has a mission that I actually believe in. I honestly couldn’t have dreamed of a better experience for my first internship.
“Greatness is not some esoteric, elusive, god-like feature that only the special among us can have.” It’s something that’s really there; it’s something that really exists—something there for the taking.
The first thing that really pulled me to Aahana was Rina’s story—and that’s what makes this different. When we first began talking, she told me about her frequent visits to Gujarat, and how she really got in touch with where her parents came from.
It hit me.
I am Tanmay Patel. I first heard of Aahana when I started my graduate program at Drexel School of Public Health. From there I started following their work with the Mamta School through Facebook, Instagram and of course their website. I always imagined myself doing the type of work Aahana does, so I contacted them to get involved.
Luckily my roommate knew Aahana founder Rina Patel since childhood and was nice enough to get me into contact with her. I met with her and she explained to me what she is doing and how far she wants to take the organization. Honestly, I was inspired and by the end of the meeting I had already offered my help.