Indian American community leader Renu Gupta Jan. 23 was honored in India with the ‘She The Change – Nari Udhyami Sanman 2019’ award for her lifelong efforts in bringing about a positive change in the lives of people in India and the U.S.
The award, conferred by the Beti & Shiksha Foundation in Varanasi, India, was presented by Tara Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi and Uttarkhand Gov. Baby Rani Maurya.
Gupta, 61, grew up in Rajasthan where she completed her studies in Sanskrit and English. Here marriage to Dr. Arun Gupta, a scientist, brought her to the U.S. where she plunged into a job, studies and community activities, according to a news release.
She credits her maternal grandmother who instilled the values of Hindu dharma and her paternal grandfather from whom she absorbed the spirit of selfless service.
A member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad America for the last 36 years and now serving as VP of Seva in the VHPA, Gupta spearheaded a group of 15 likeminded women for “Seva, Shakti and Sadhana.” All activities are geared towards this mission such as organizing spiritual retreats, workshops and serving the community.
In 2008, she received a call from a Catholic Service coordinator who asked for help in rehabilitating 50 refugee Bhutanese and Nepali families. Over the course of 10 years, the VHPA group worked with the refugees to set up their homes, taught them to clean houses and drive so they could find employment, file taxes and helped their children enroll in school, the release said.
Five years ago she took up the “Support A Child” project – a VHPA initiative that was languishing for want of attention. The initiative raises funds for the education and boarding of underprivileged children in India and her efforts helped their support grow from 700 children to 2,500 children.
One of the original volunteers of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, Gupta was elected as the first woman to become the chairperson of the board.
She also spends time teaching Hindi and Hindu culture to children in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is based. Role models for our children, she insists, must be characters like Mirabai, Shivaji, Maharana Pratap and Laxmi Bai, the release said.
Playing on the word “Hindi medium,” she enjoins Indian American parents to “raise their children through the Hindu medium and teach them values of Hindu dharma,” the release added.