Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – Same World, New Eyes

Name: Ashley Wade
From: Spartanburg, SC
Grade: 12
School: Spartanburg High School
Votes: 0

His exhausted eyes peered up at me from behind crusted eyelids, dirt
smeared across his face like a battle scar. His ashen, mocha-colored
skin seemed like a garment too big for his starving body. Wafts of
human excrement and gasoline weighed in the air, fueling the violent
jerks of his frame as he coughed blood and mucus into a ripped piece
of stained fabric. As I was pulled away to my 
train,I
saw him staring at me still, silently begging me to do something
—anything. I will never forget his voiceless cries.

The memory from that day in the train station in India stalked my mind
every night as I attempted to sleep. It ate away at my soul and
gnawed on my conscience until finally I couldn’t stand be helpless
any longer. The boy might not be able to do anything to help his
situation, but I could. I became infused with a passion that
invigorated my muscles and burned my mind, and that light has yet to
go out.


While in India, I stayed with a family of doctors who owned a hospital in
Delhi. They explained to me that in India, if a family cannot afford
a treatment upfront, then they are denied access to the hospital and
told to go somewhere else. Countless kids could be saved by a $20
malaria medicine or a $50 round of tuberculosis treatment, and the
knowledge of this made me crave action. I recruited my two best
friends, who traveled to India with me, and we together founded
Project A.I.D: Assistance in Delhi. Our organization works to raise
money so that the kids in the Jeewan Hospital in New Delhi who would
normally be denied entry due to lack of monetary resources can now be
admitted as paying patients, drawing their money from our fund. We
have raised $5,340 in two weeks of a $10,000 goal by December.

The people who change the world are not the people with money, with
power, with fame. The people who change the world are the ones who
have the ability to completely remove themselves from their situation
and place themselves in the life of someone else. The ones who feel
the starvation of the malnourished kid; the ones whose hearts ache
with the mom whose kids were blown up in the war; the ones who can’t
stand to see the suffering because it rips them apart just as much as
it does the ones who are actually in pain. These are values we need
to teach, not fame and success. Humility. Empathy. Passion. This
is how the world will change, and I plan to be a part of it.


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