At the age of 15, Simran Benipal created the Let Them Dream Foundation for Kids, an organization now fundraising for education supplies for students around the world.
Currently a third year medical science student at Western, Benipal notes that her father’s struggles in India are the driving force behind her foundation.
In her most recent project, Benipal teamed up with two First Nations students at Western to donate school supplies to the Oneida community, roughly 30 minutes outside of London. The students — Frazier Sundown and Kaitlyn Powless — are both members of the Indigenous Students’ Association at Western.
“I never been to a really rural area before, so it was interesting to see just how different it was from a busy city like Toronto or London, and it’s pretty different,” Benipal said, “I think this was one of the few schools in the area. It’s actually pretty big, there’s kindergarten to grade six, and a lot of the kids were really motivated about finishing school and maybe going to university one day, and it was great for them to have the supplies to do so.”
Growing up in the Oneida community, Sundown shares a special connection with the school children.
“I was trying to get them heavily involved in the language, so I was teaching them some language words, and then they did a dance and I sang for them,” Sundown said.
Their day at the school including handing out school supplies and engaging the students with a presentation. The presentation looked to inspire the schoolchildren to pursue higher education.
Something that stood out to Benipal while at school was the unique focus on business management.
“One thing I found really unique was they were teaching them the importance of running a business and gaining your own resources," Benipal said. "The kindergarten has a restaurant set up where they sell different pieces of food, and the day I went it was soup. It was nice to see them so motivated about doing something.”
While the charity currently sends school supplies, Benipal is hoping to expand projects to provide health care to children and families who can’t afford it, similar to Doctors without Borders, which is an inspiration to her.