Adhira Choudhury and Swati Budarapu might look like your typical high school students, but they are anything but. The two friends have been working on developing and launching a volunteer organization called the LEAP Foundation, Leveraging Education & Academics for the Poor.
The LEAP Foundation was created to provide underprivileged children in India with adequate educational opportunities. Adhira and Swati’s goal is to allow children to fully pursue their potential. “We always want to let these students know that no matter where they come from, they can always grow bigger,” Swati said.
The organization was originally inspired by Adhira’s late grandfather. “He was always wanting to help people,” Adhira said. She wanted to continue the legacy of his giving spirit and combine that with her other passion — teaching.
“These students have so much potential and so much talent,” Adhira said regarding the program. “LEAP is less like a job and more like a passion to me. I love teaching the students and getting to see them each week.”
Both Swati and Adhira come from immigrant families, and they wanted to start this organization to give back to their families and community.
"We know how much our parents have helped us,” Swati said. “So we really just wanted to give back in any way we could.”
LEAP was originally formatted in December 2019 and officially organized in March. Adhira and Swati reached out to partner with other volunteer organizations such as the Asha Foundation, a charity that aids disadvantaged Nepali children.
LEAP is currently working with the Asha Foundation for virtual tutoring for Nishtha. Nishtha focuses on enabling young girls and women to stand up for their rights and vocalize against discrimination in West Bengal. LEAP has been helping educate young boys and girls since September, teaching the fundamentals of English through online classes.
Though there are currently about 80 student and adult volunteers involved in LEAP, they are always looking for more additions. In July, Adhira and Swati received applications from about 70 volunteers and they narrowed the number of volunteers down to 20 to work on the Nishtha project. The other volunteers will be working in teams on upcoming projects.
Upcoming projects will include LEAP partnering and working with Bhumi to teach Bhumi’s students in India computer science classes. LEAP will also be working with KISS, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, to tutor students from grades 5-10 in Math and English. All of the classes will be through a virtual platform.
Adhira and Swati look to involve more students in the area with LEAP, but adult volunteers are always welcome. “It’s always great to have more adult supervisors,” Swati said.
Donations are also welcome, and that option will be available soon. To find out more information about LEAP, visit their Linktree at linktr.ee/leapfoundation.