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The Story Behind SARBAT

In this world, there is a digital divide between people who use technology to enhance the growth of their business, and those who do not. This project aims to bridge the divide between the two. My initiative will provide classes for digitally challenged people to show them how to use the internet and social media to maximize their income and business growth. According to the NCES, in America, 16% of adults are computer illiterate and a majority of these adults are immigrants. Their lack of technical skills affects their career and depresses household incomes. Although local counties do provide some classes on computer basics, it is not targeted towards immigrants and nor do they teach skills to establish a digital presence. My project also aims to provide high-touch follow up assistance even after the course is finished. This project will lead to innovation and change in the digital world because more immigrants will get the opportunity to leverage their digital skills to enhance their businesses.

I am an active member of the Sikh community and go to my gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) regularly. There are many immigrants that come from Punjab, a state in Northern India, who come to America seeking a better life. However, they are not well versed in computers which is disadvantageous to them when they enter the work force and business. In front of my eyes, I have witnessed the plight of struggling immigrants. For example, many of the priests in our Gurdwaras who come straight from India have no clue about basic computer skills such as using an Excel spreadsheet to track their budget or creating a PowerPoint. While they already know basic technology such as using a phone, they lack the skills of building an online presence. For instance, one priest teaches classical music to the kids and adults. He is an extremely gifted musician, who could have potentially expanded his teaching business tremendously if he knew how to create a website to advertise his classes, create a google classroom for his students, and create a YouTube channel to educate students and advertise his skills. There are already so many differences and barriers between immigrants and this new world but technology need not be one of them.

I have taken part in three major initiatives to make a change in the community as a group and as an individual. First, I am a part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) youth ambassador program. This program is made up of children with Type One Diabetes and their siblings. In this group, we provide awareness about Type One Diabetes and help support the mission of JDRF by raising funds for research. I have lead a team for the JDRF One Walk and advocated at the JDRF dream gala auctions as well.

Second, I am an active member of Girl Scouts of America since PYP and have proudly completed my silver award. In my silver award, I held a book drive to collect books for rural kids in Indian schools which lack libraries. Books are not only a good asset for the teachers, but they spark interest in the students as well. In total, I collected about 500 books to ship to India.

Third, I am an active volunteer of the Eternal Charitable Foundation, a non profit 501(c)(3) which provides drug de-addiction centers and high quality schools in rural India. I recently went on a trip with them to a mega event in California to fundraise money for schools.

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