Student initiatives to combat the virus have grown in the past couple of months as many teenagers have started organizations with the hopes to aid our community. Among such people is junior Alaina Mupparthi. As the oldest of four children, she was inspired by her mother to start her organization, My Sahara.
Mupparthi noticed that her mother was struggling to balance her full-time job along with the responsibilities of supporting her childrens’ education when school transitioned online with her daily housework. She quickly realized that her mother was only one of many adults attempting to fight this difficulty. Muppatthi created My Sahara which is a tutoring service that aims to provide sahara, meaning support in Hindi, to the community. The initiative aims to support three groups: adults who are struggling to educate their children at home, teenagers wanting to volunteer and contribute to their communities and K-8 students needing extra support.
Said Mupparthi, “I had been saving every dollar that I could since I was four to go on a Paris trip for my sixteenth birthday. Obviously, that was canceled due to COVID, so I thought rather than letting this money sit here, why don’t I actually use it for good?” She ended up using it towards My Sahara: specifically server space and curriculum materials, among other things.
Balancing the responsibilities of the organization is something that Mupparthi struggled with the most throughout her journey. Said Mupparthi, “My biggest challenge was creating a healthy work-life balance. Over the summer, I was completely committed to My Sahara.” Her responsibilities ranged from adjusting to different time zones to creating new curriculum. She would also schedule times for classes, set up interviews for potential tutors, and email parents all by herself. “Quite frankly, I was approaching burnout really quickly. It was all super time-consuming and I was finding difficulty in delegating tasks. My professional and personal life had merged into one.”
It was during these difficult times that Mupparthi found encouragement and motivation through her executive team and her family. Said Mupparthi, “I have an amazing executive team and a super great group of tutors. There is no way My Sahara would be where it is today without their selflessness and dedication. My family, especially my mother, have helped me throughout this all.”
Mupparthi recalls the beginning of the organization when she had originally set a goal to help 15 students and in turn, aid 15 parents. She ended up reaching that goal within two days and as time went on, the number of registrations grew exponentially. She woke up every morning to more students wanting to join this initiative.
So far, My Sahara has held over 2,600 student sessions and Mupparthi has no intention to stop right there. With the school year in session, My Sahara is reducing its number of classes but is instead hosting monthly workshops for students ranging on various topics including preparations for private school admissions, mindfulness, and speech and debate. Still, Mupparthi aspires to bring My Sahara back into full flow next summer with classes running at various timings to suit students from all over the country and even on a global scale. Said Mupparthi, “One of the most rewarding things is hearing from former students who enjoyed the program so much that they want to become tutors next year. I hope My Sahara continues for years to come with tutors who have been students and continue that legacy.”
When talking about some of her biggest achievements, Mupparthi said, “It’s extremely gratifying to hear back from parents who are delighted that our curriculum aligns exceptionally well with the content their children are currently learning. They talk about how prepared their students are and how thankful they are.”
Reflecting upon the entire experience, said Mupparthi, “Overall, it was a very steep learning curve with a very intense and vigorous growth experience, but at the end, I’m so glad that I did it.” Added Mupparthi, “While supporting the community, don’t lose sight of the fact that you need to support yourself.”