Congratulations to 2019 RS Kurt Hahn Prize Winner Shreya Mantha

Posted: 14 May 2019

We are pleased to announce that Round Square’s 2019 Kurt Hahn Prize will be awarded to Shreya Mantha from Providence Day School for her “Foundation For Girls” initiative, a youth-led social venture dedicated to empowering girls in crisis.

Her goal is to change the life trajectory of at-risk and vulnerable girls through caring coaches and programs in Financial Wellness, Leadership, Digital Literacy, and Health and Well-Being. Her
‘minds-on’ and ‘hands-on’ programming centres around the gamification of learning to boost self-confidence, build lifelong skills, and provide girls with the tools they need to transition from dependence to independence.

They believe in systematic and sustainable change for the collective benefit of the community — helping increase social capital through new connections, advancing economic mobility, and
addressing key issues that impact the community-at-large.

Shreya started Foundation For Girls in December of 2014 as an eighth-grader at Providence Day School, with her younger sister Sahana Mantha to honour their grandmother’s legacy after she died from pancreatic cancer.

“It took us a while to decide how we wanted to proceed and where we wanted to focus first. It was important to us to ensure that we could be hands-on with the work while we are still in school.
Moreover, while there are many girls in developing countries that need help, we chose to focus first on making a difference in our Charlotte community, where we have been born and brought up, with the goal of expanding globally over time” she says. “We started in a very small way, working with a local non-profit partner and the girls that lived in their shelter and safe home tutoring trafficking survivors in English and Maths. This experience was pivotal to helping us understand the needs of the vulnerable and those who have no families or the scaffolding for success.”

Today her 50-strong organisation has impacted over 1800 young women in the greater Charlotte area who are sex trafficking survivors, refugees, teen moms, homeless, and domestic violence and foster-care abuse victims. While they work with different demographics, they believe in “girls without labels”.

With the help of 45 volunteers and 12 youth ambassadors over 350 workshops have been conducted, investing 16,000 hours of coaching and training to empower these girls. They have also raised over $180,000 to support girls in crisis.

As well as running the organisation, Shreya leads the Digital Literacy programme in English, Spanish, and Hindi teaching them the digital skills they need to be successful as a global citizen; “In our increasingly digital world, the ability to navigate technology is crucial for academic and economic advancement” she says.

Shreya will be formally recognised for her dedication to the spirit of service at the RSIC2019 Opening Ceremony in India this October.

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