Kavita Rai, Anusha Tandon, and Ina Bhoopalam, three Indian American teens, are among the 24 teenage girls selected as “Girl Up” advisers heading to Washington, D.C., for the upcoming United Nations Women Empowerment Summit. Rai, of Camillo, Calif.; Tandon, of Acton, Mass.; and Bhoopalam, of Lincoln, Neb., will join the 21 other teen advisers for the summit July 8 through July 11.
The purpose of the summit is to improve the lives of other girls, and Rai is hoping she can play a part in achieving that goal, according to a Camarillo Acorn report. “It’s important not to live in a bubble,” the 16-year-old daughter of Rajinder and Mukesh Rai said in the report. The teens were selected to head to the summit by Girl Up, an empowerment campaign of the United Nations Foundation, to speak at the organization’s annual summit on issues facing girls and women, the report said.
Some 400 girls from 17 states and five countries who are active in the Girl Up campaign in their communities applied to be teen advisers, the publication added. The advisers who were selected “share the common goal of supporting girls around the world and achieving global gender equality,” spokesperson Beth Nervig said. Along with several adult speakers scheduled to appear at next month’s summit, the teen advisers will share their stories with about 400 other girls expected to attend, the report added.
Tandon, 17, is a senior at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, Massachusetts and she first joined Girl Up in sixth grade because she wanted to use her voice to help people around the world, according to the Girl Up website.
“I was enticed by Girl Up’s unique format that allows girls to be at the forefront of change, because I had never seen a campaign that was basically run by girls. I helped found a club in my middle and high school, and have taken leadership roles ever since. I feel like I have grown so much over the years and I’ve loved seeing the amazing women in my club grow up along with me,” Tandon stated on the website.
Bhoopalam is a student at both East High School in Cornhusker State, Nebraska and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“My experience with Girl Up starts a little over a year ago, when I made a promise to myself that I would no longer stay silent in the face of so many problems. It was around that time when I heard about Girl Up from a friend and was immediately hooked,” Bhoopalam stated on the website.
Rai is a senior at Newbury Park High School in California and she started a Girl Up chapter at her school, two years ago. “My advocacy for women’s rights has been a passion of mine for years now,” she stated on the Girl Up website. Rai is involved in YMCA Youth & Government where has discussions on prison reform, gun control and women’s reproductive rights.
According to their website, since its launch in 2010, Girl Up has been partnering with the United Nations to support comprehensive programs that give adolescent girls in six developing countries including India, an equal chance for education, health, social and economic opportunities, and a life free from violence.