The story of Krishna Bhatia, a Year 5 student at Doha College, is a touching and inspiring example of selflessness and generosity. On his 9th birthday this January, he asked that he is given not gifts, but money that he could donate to those in need. When summer came and he went to his parents' homeland of India, he made good on his promise and divided the money between two causes:a food donation campaign based on spirulina-infused nutrition, and a purchase of educational supplies for the Ashray Orphanage in Mumbai.
Spirulina-infused food is beneficial to malnourished children, and the campaign was run in partnership with www.bhookh.com. Spirulina is an ecologically-sound, nutrient-rich superfood used to address food security and malnutrition, and as dietary support in long-term space missions.
Krishna got to meet Anny Kohli, a well-known activist and social worker, who cultivates spirulina herself in Nasik, close to Mumbai. The growth and general health of the children reached by this campaign will be monitored, and work is in progress for a licence required to run formal tests by a pathology laboratory.
The Ashray Orphanage houses and educates HIV-positive and abandoned children. Ashray is one of several projects of an NGO called Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT). Previously, there was no screening mechanism in place for children born to known positive mothers. It was considered unethical to test a patient when there was no medication available to treat the condition, should the child prove to be infected, but now some treatment is available. All children receive basic healthcare and nutrition which they would not have otherwise received, and are thriving as a result. Those with HIV receive treatment and live longer, more comfortable lives. Ashray is working to provide education and vocational training for the children who come to them, so they are equipped with the tools and support needed when they leave the orphanage, easing their reintegration into society.
This is not the first manifestation of Krishna's empathy and forethought. Back in 2014, when he was just 6, he received a sum of money from an elderly relative. Having seen his grandmother suffer from cancer, he decided to donate that money to cancer patients in India.
His proud parents Kunal and Kusum said this of their son and of Doha College: "He makes us proud every day with his behaviour. A big 'thanks' to Doha College for reinforcing values that we try our best to instil. The school and the teachers play such an important role in the development of the child and Krishna has been very lucky to have been taught by some of the best teachers."
Krishna has studied in Doha College from the very beginning, in 2011, and is a wonderful example of the work that the school does for the community. The Secondary School has a long-standing Charity Committee that raise funds to help various causes throughout the year. During the past year, the charities that benefited from their efforts were 'The Brain Tumour Charity', 'Orbis' and 'QAWS'. It also rewards exceptional charity work through its annual "Walton Community Award". Most recent recipients include Ross O'Donnell (2017), Anushka Bande (2016) and Rebecca Jacob (2015). The staff, too, contribute to charitable causes; one of the most notable was 'Movember', which supports men's physical and mental health. A Charity Committee has been introduced in Primary this year, and we look forward to seeing the work of DC's younger students and its positive impact on the community.
When asked how he came to make these decisions, Krishna explained: 'It's good to be of help to people who need it. When I was 6 and donated the money, I felt happy that I could help some people get better, so I wanted to give more and help more. The kids in the Ashray Orphanage must have a tough life without parents; with these donations, they will learn more and know more, and this knowledge will help them become more successful.'
Well done Krishna, you have made everyone proud, and you are inspiring others to emulate your actions and outlook.