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“Our hopes for a more just, safe, and peaceful world can only be
achieved when there is universal respect for the inherent dignity and equal
rights of all members of the human family.” – UN Women Executive Director
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

 

Throughout
my life, I have never been completely decisive on a career path. However, in
the last few years I have realized that my passion for human rights advocacy is
my natural calling which I am destined to pursue.  

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As I
entered my first year of college at the University of Maryland – College Park,
I took a specific interest in a group known as Consult Your Community. The organization
allows undergraduate students to engage with low-income and minority-owned
small businesses to provide pro bono consulting services. I worked directly
with businesses in underrepresented communities to make a noticeable and
meaningful impact by applying the skills I learned in class to the real world.

Over the months I was involved in Consult Your Community, I fought for the human
rights of all individuals; no matter their class, opinions, or sexual
orientation.

 

Since
my involvement in Consult Your Community, I have been passionate about
improving human rights for the most vulnerable people. This is what draws me to
São Paulo, Brazil. Police brutality, poverty, violence, lack of
education and an overall absence of human rights are abundant in the favelas of
Brazil. A favela is a community that was built without any oversight of a
public authority: no zoning, building codes, or public services. These communities
were formed primarily due to slavery and massive migration. The Human Rights Watch estimates that in Brazil police kill 1
person for every 23 arrests made. Despite numerous protests from concerned citizens
urging the government to take action in favelas, the Brazilian government has
contributed little towards improving their standard of life. Instead, the government
has invested their money in growing the wealthy areas of Brazil to showcase for
the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

 

Furthermore,
I wish is to embark on an educational journey to beautiful São Paulo, Brazil for the Business/Economics program in Fall 2018 and
Spring 2019. I believe that São Paulo is the perfect place for me to advance my
educational career while giving me the opportunity to make a meaningful impact
in the favelas of Brazil.

 

Aside
from my desire to learn more about favelas in Brazil, the study abroad program
I have chosen, while challenging, will allow me to continue working towards my
degree in Economics. The AIFS Study Abroad program offers courses in
international relations, business, economics, politics, and law which can all
be used towards my degree. Additionally, I plan on learning elementary and
intermediate level Portuguese through my program. Although I have never learned
Portuguese before, I am looking forward to the challenge to enhance my study
abroad experience. Another aspect of the program which is attractive to me is
the ability to volunteer and intern at local businesses. AIFS works with local
businesses to place international students with internship and volunteer
positions in Brazil. This will give me the opportunity to use my consulting
skills and give back to the Brazilian community.

 

Although
it has been a dream of mine to study abroad, my financial situation continues
to make it difficult to pursue. My parents are both hard working immigrants from India who built
a life and a family in a new country, in which they could not speak the
language. Although I grew up in a low-income family with very few luxuries, my
parents placed a large emphasis on pursuing a post-secondary education. Unfortunately,
my parents did not have the funds necessary to pay for my post-secondary
education. In order to put myself through college I have relied on scholarships
and my own hard work. Last summer, I worked 72 hours a week as a landscaper to
earn just enough money to pay for my first year of college.

 

The FEA
scholarship is critical in helping me achieve my goal of studying abroad. The
scholarship will allow me to receive a great education in a beautiful country
while giving me the opportunity to make a lifelong impact in Brazil. With my passion
for human rights and past experience in consulting services, I believe I can make
a significant impact in the favela communities of Brazil while working towards
my career goal of becoming a human rights activist. Thank you so much for your
consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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