CON­NIE RAO, runs an NGO for slum kids

Cosmopolitan (India) - - REAL- LIFE READ -

sind­hoor. And Con­nie’s big goal in life is to help un­der­priv­i­leged In­dian chil­dren in Varanasi, where she runs a school, Asha Deep Vidyashram, for slum chil­dren. But it wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion. She got mar­ried to Ra­jeev, her US Univer­sity sweet­heart, and moved to In­dia to look af­ter his sick fa­ther in Hy­der­abad. “Af­ter his dad died, we went to Varanasi for a trip and de­cided to make it our home. How­ever, I would see slum kids smok­ing, drink­ing, and sniff­ing glue at the age of 10, and this dis­turbed me. So, I de­cided to start a small school and to­day we have over 250 kids, and a com­puter room too,” she says.

Fate took a for­tu­nate turn and she met Chan­dra Mo­hini Chaturvedi, who was run­ning an NGO in Varanasi. Soon, Con­nie joined hands with her to help those who had no means get pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion and en­sure they get their next meal. “Com­ing from a priv­i­leged back­ground, I felt mo­ti­vated to do some­thing for them and I am for­tu­nate God gave me this op­por­tu­nity to feed and teach the poor,” says Con­nie. She’s a blonde, blueeyed Amer­i­can who goes to work wear­ing an­klets, a sari, red ban­gles, and

Asha Deep is light­ing the lives

of young slum chil­dren

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