Twelve years, one month and four days. That’s how long Varshita and Venkatesh were married, before she passed away in January 2020.

Although originally from India, the couple spent much of their time abroad. According to Venkatesh, his wife was “an ambassador for the real India.” And not only because she was famous for her pakodas.

“She compelled one and all to question the misconceptions they harbored in their mind about India and Indians,” he says. “She put the real India out there for foreigners to see through her goodness and sublime humaneness.” Varshita knew India’s challenges of poverty all too well.

“She grew up observing the difficulties poor people faced in their daily lives,” Venkatesh remembers. “And she believed very strongly that women’s education, employability and ability to stand on their own two feet held the key to sustainable development in the world.”

That’s what brought them to Plan. Varshita and Venkatesh have been child sponsors since 2007. Their monthly gift has been making the world a better place for children around the world.

So when Venkatesh thought about how he wanted to honor his wife’s memory, the path ahead was clear.

“Varshita being a global Indian (well and truly!) can be best honored if girls from all over the world find the right opportunities to get educated,” Venkatesh says. “This, I believe, Plan is perfectly poised to make happen.”

Venkatesh is investing in global education and created an endowed sponsorship in Varshita’s honor. Children will be sponsored in her name for years to come. The first child to benefit from this gift is, fittingly, a 10-year-old girl from India named Gitanjali.

“Who knows, maybe some of the girls may grow up and utilize the opportunities very well to become entrepreneurs or world leaders or award-winning scientists!” Venkatesh says. “Often, diamonds are found in the rough… and several of them abound in the hinterlands of the developing world.”