REDMOND, Wash. — A couple of teenage sisters in Redmond are passionate about fighting for education equity. Years ago they were on a family vacation to India and noticed a very different routine among girls their age.
Vanesha Hari, 14, and her 12-year-old sister Varshini say they found purpose on that trip.
“We saw girls working in their house when most of us would be in school. We realized they were financially supporting their family while we would be going to school,” Vanesha said.
Vanesha and Varshini founded a website called “Joys of Giving” and wanted to provide support and resources for education equity.
They say quality education shouldn’t be a privilege. They began hosting fundraisers.
The sisters say they felt a sense of responsibility to help other kids. They also share their passion for STEM and cooking through classes.
The website www.joysofgiving.org was launched in 2016 and today they’ve raised nearly $15,000 and volunteered hundreds of hours.
After the start of the pandemic, their focus shifted to online classes. The sisters have now engaged with hundreds of kids through baking classes and STEM programs.
The girls recently raised $2,000 dollars to support the Lake Washington School District's mental health programs and free lunch program, leading the Washington State Department of Health to call the sisters “COVID-19 Heroes.”
Redmond Mayor Angela Birney recognized the sisters in August 2021 for their "significant contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic."
They were also recently honored as the youngest members of the "30 Under 30" club in 2021 by 425 Magazine.