For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Nonprofit Aahana Takes Cues From the United Nations with New Dialogue Series

Aahana Founder Rina Patel targets Philadelphia for new awareness campaign.

Rina Patel

October 17, 2014

Aahana’s main focus may be thousands of miles away, but the nonprofit that provides education, healthcare and vocational training to disabled children in Gujarat, India is working to raise awareness right here in Philadelphia.

The organization founded by Drexel student Rina Patel and incubated in the Baiada Institute is hosting a series of discussions, titled: “Angles of Awareness.” Each event will be centered around one of the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development goals.

“My goal is to create a broader network with other organizations doing work with disabled children in other regions of Gujarat and around India,” Patel says.

The first event on Nov. 4 will discuss Women Empowerment and Gender Equality with a focus in human trafficking and the effect that armed conflict has on women. The panel discussion will be moderated by Archna Sahay, founder of the Female Founders network, and include commentary from Amelia Hoover Green, an assistant professor in Drexel’s Department of History and Politics; Raili Roy, a lecturer at the South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania; Hugh Organ, associate director of Covenant House; and Donna Sabella, the director of both Global Studies and Office of Human Trafficking at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. The discussion will be held in Drexel's Mitchell Auditorium in the Bossone Research Center at 5:30 p.m.

Patel says that while Aahana plans future events centered on the other seven UN Millennium Development goals, the nonprofit will also be growing its leadership team.

“I am currently focusing my efforts on building my network here in the U.S. and I hope to meet more people working in India, too,” Patel says. “We are working on a few other things in the beginning stages that I will hopefully have a bit more progress on in a few months.”

The school Aahana sponsors in Gujarat now includes 67 students, up from the original 30. Aahana also has five university chapters — at the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, Loyola University of Maryland, the University of Houston and the University of Delaware — and three committed sponsor organizations.