Aiming to connect high school American students of Indian descent to their homeland, a top Indian-American organisation has announced a three-week fully funded scholarship programme for them to travel to India.
Titled "Heritage India" by Indiaspora and powered by 360+(both non-profit organisations), the program aims to build connections and foster closer relations between India and their diaspora populations, a statement said on Wednesday.
Eight high school students will receive fully funded scholarships from Indiaspora to participate in the program with the theme "India's Riches: History, Culture, Diversity, & Democracy".
The students will visit three areas of India that are geographically and culturally diverse, yet all very much represent the country: New Delhi, Gujarat and Kerala, the statement said.
The curriculum will include hands-on interactive exhibits, stimulating discussions, and a service project in India.
Open to high school students between ages 15-18 at the time of the trip, Heritage India will take place July 21 to August 10.
"Heritage is such an integral part of someone's identity. We are proud to announce this program, which will give these students a potentially life-changing experience," Gabrielle Trippe, Indiaspora's philanthropy initiatives manager, said.
"Second and third-generation diaspora often do not feel as close of a connection to their homeland. We believe this program will provide them with the opportunity to bridge this gap," she said.
Heritage India will be overseen by Sridar Iyengar, an independent mentor investor in early-stage startups and former chairman and CEO of KPMG India, who has created youth immersion programs for a diverse group of students through his nonprofit organisation, 360+.
"There is an underserved part of our community who may not be able to experience India. We hope this birthright program will provide them the means," Mr Iyengar said.
"Giving them the opportunity to travel to their roots should reinforce their connection to that heritage," he said.