As the latest CNN newscast broadcasted stories of people fleeing their homeland due to civil war and falling victim to terror attacks and senseless violence, Simran Benipal and her family listened and watched in sadness. They wondered how they could make a difference to the people whose stories they had become all too familiar with, and many others around the world who were in need.
These conversations translated into action, and today, as a Bachelor of Medical Sciences student, Benipal is continuing her commitment to the community in London and around the world.
Benipal was just 15 when she established her first charity, Let Them Dream Foundation for Kids. The organization hosts fundraising to support the purchase of educational supplies for children. “Our goal is to ensure children can achieve their dreams through education,” said Benipal.
Benipal puts together what the Foundation calls Dream Packages with the funds raised. The packages include basic school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, pens, textbooks and calculators. And, if a donor prefers to provide the actual supplies, they will be boxed up and shipped to the benefiting countries.
It’s taken a significant amount of time and effort, but with her family’s support Benipal has been able to support children in India, Zimbabwe and Haiti. She’s currently working on a project with the Six Nations to bring educational supplies and materials to northern reserve communities.
With a commitment to education, Benipal is involved with a number of other charitable organizations. She teaches English to prisoners in Brazil by Skype, and she volunteers with Music for Kids, a local organization that provides music lessons to underprivileged children in the London community.
Benipal’s resume boasts numerous past volunteer experiences as a hospital volunteer, a member of Western University’s Doctors Without Borders club, and the head of the START Student Leadership Conference Committee which helped young students develop leadership skills.
With a busy course-load as a third-year student and summer research projects on the go, it’s hard to imagine how Benipal has the time to keep up with all her volunteer commitments. When things get busy, she remembers her parents telling her that no matter how little you have, always give what you can.
“You may not think that one person can make that much of a difference,” she said. “But as I’ve learned from my experiences, it’s always worth the effort to try, as you never know the impact you can have on someone’s life.”
Benipal is on a mission to make education more accessible to those in need, and encourages everyone in the community to find a cause they are passionate about and strive to make change.