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PURE love: Reaching across the US and India to serve those in need

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, March 25, 2021: High school kid Narendra was burdened – physically, emotionally and most of all, economically. He had fallen off the train and on to the tracks. Narendra lay unconscious on the grass, with one arm and one leg cut off. It was only the next morning that someone noticed him and notified authorities. Several hours passed before he was admitted to a hospital. With no identification, it took a few days before his family was contacted. His mother, single and a domestic cook had no means of funding for surgeries or physiotherapy.  Narendra could not eat, move or go to school.

Now in eleventh grade, Narendra goes to school with a bioprosthetic arm and leg, thanks to PURE (People for Urban and Rural Education) which provided him a bioprosthetic arm and leg, free of cost.

Founded in 2016 to bring educational and livelihood opportunities closer to the economically disadvantaged children, at-risk youth and special population, Florida based PURE is reaching across borders to serve those in need with 34 chapters and 300 volunteers.

PURE serves various causes including conducive schools, sponsorships for education and livelihood, Femme, a menstrual hygiene initiative, Abhyasa, a street to school program, Green – an environment-based education program, and emergency relief across India and US including food, clothes, school supply kits, blankets to flood stricken, fire stricken, hurricane and covid affected areas, among others.

“I got involved as a donor at first: The fast implementation of projects, the transparency, the low overhead costs of the projects, team of likeminded people drew me more and more into the PURE family,” said Bharati Vallabhaneni. Atlanta couple, Bharati and Bhanu Vallabhaneni have dedicated much of their time to PURE. While Bharati currently leads the Sponsorship Suite at PURE that includes the sponsoring of students, livelihood, miles and special meals programs, husband Bhanu serves as the board member.

PURE is built on “four pillars”, TeamPURE, PUREGurus, PUREVolunteers and PURESponsors.

Team PURE constitutes the founding members, who provide leadership and set the vision and a group of volunteer directors from the USA and Canada who lead various program areas.

PUREGurus or the teachers (Gurus) partner with PURE in the implementation of the infrastructure improvement projects, tutoring, mentoring and also act as the bridge between PURE and the local communities where they work.

PUREVolunteers include anyone who freely donates their time and energy towards furthering PURE’s mission, Youth ambassadors and their parents from the thirty-five PURE Youth Chapters, and volunteers from our partner organizations.

PURESponsors connect the need with the source of funds.

The origins of PURE trace back to the times when founder Shyla Talluri found out that her donation to a remote school in Telangana, India could either be used for books or plates and most kids chose books.  The school did not have enough money to stock up on plates to be served to famished kids. She decided to make a difference. And PURE was born.

During COVID, PURE YOUTH partnered with local org and volunteers across the country providing food supplies to Underprivileged families in NJ and Columbus, Ohio, lunch to disadvantaged kids in Jacksonville, Florida, supplying paper to make up for lack of computer access in Florida, donating Kindle and books to disadvantaged kids is Ohio, donating masks hand made by youth ambassadors to nursing and rehab homes in San Antonio, Texas.

The Atlanta Chapter of PURE Youth in Cumming addressed period poverty, choosing it as their Fall project. They collected sanitary napkins and tampons and delivered them to two local organizations Family Promise of Forsyth County and The Place of Forsyth. They created the flier and opened up a gofundme me page, and delivered fliers in the neighborhood, advocating about their project. The PURE Youth Cumming chapter thanked health heroes with lunch at Northside Hospital Cumming, GA and sent lunch meals to a nursing home for elderly memory loss patients at the The Memory Center.

In India, PURE focused more on livelihood, partnering with local volunteers to start an ambulance in Hyderabad, India to help people in covid times. PURE donated food supplies to migrant workers who were stranded in towns because of lockdowns and supplied groceries and meals to various orphanages and old age homes.

“I am excited about this new project that involves means of livelihood for women with disabilities,” said Bharati. The project, aimed at helping women are disabled physically and mentally, is designed to provide independent income generating systems based on individual capabilities and previous experience. “Computer training, sewing machines, pico stitching, bangle making, jewelry making, grocery store, tea stall etc. are some means of generating income for them,” elaborated Bharati. Some of their other upcoming projects include providing libraries in 18 orphanage homes that includes bookshelves with books in English and regional languages and monthly nutrition kits to 50 kids affected by HIV infection.

The website lists over 100,000 kids who have been educated, over 2500 classrooms that have been transformed, over 60K girl’s health equipped, and over 60K thirst and hunger issues addressed as the impact of PURE.

“The impact of the donations, the team, the sense of fulfillment when you know the money has been well utilized,” is what helps me motivate to serve at PURE says Bharati. “I thought I was giving to someone when I donate or volunteer but what I get back in form of happiness, fulfillment and learning experience is much more than what I give. Meeting these young kids who are facing stupendous challenges in life but have such positive outlook in life and are willing to learn and achieve their goals is awe -inspiring,” Bharati said about serving as a volunteer. Indeed. As Winston Churchill put it, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” 

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