A brother and sister team from Lausanne were honored on Wednesday with the 2019 Keeper Of The Dream award, presented by the National Civil Rights Museum yearly to students who are making a positive and meaningful impact in the community.
Risha Manga '23 and Krishnav Manga '24 co-founded 901 PLEDGE, an effort for kids by kids to engage and give back to local and global communities. 901 PLEDGE arose from Risha’s and Krishnav’s individual passions. Risha turned her passion for crafting jewelry into compassion for others who are victims of inequality, and Krishnav’s love of reading has drove him to help refugee children achieve academic success through literacy.
"We need to do something to help them just to help them live up to their potential," said Krishnav. "My mom said for every book that I read she would donate a dollar to my school, and I read so many books that year that my mom was able to donate an iPad to my school library. Just seeing how my hunger to read helped others was an eye-opener to me."
901 PLEDGE offers free tutoring services to underserved children, provides coding and math coaching and sells handcrafted jewelry to raise money and awareness about food and education inequality.
Risha and Krishnav are also active volunteers with Asha’s Refuge, which helps refugees achieve successful resettlement in Memphis.
They use their 901 PLEDGE platform to coordinate book drives, shoe drives and food drives for Asha’s Refuge, Mid-South Food Bank and other organizations. Through their engagement with classmates, Risha and Krishnav demonstrate true leadership in empowering and inspiring youth to volunteer and to fight education and food inequality.
"All the proceeds that we make are donated to help others," explained Risha Manga.
The Keeper Of The Dream Award is presented yearly and celebrates students and their enthusiasm while reinforcing that we can make a difference at any age.
The awards were presented as a part of the student forum, the opening event for the National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award celebration which honors individuals worldwide for their work in the advancement of civil and human rights. Students from across the Mid-South gathered at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church to honor the students and hear from 2019 Freedom Award winners Hafsat Abiola, Gloria Steinem and John Legend.
For winning the award, Risha and Krishnav were awarded $500, a trophy, a one-year family membership to the National Civil Rights Museum and two round-trip Southwest Airlines tickets to fly to any of the airline’s destinations in the continental United States.
Way to go, Lynx!