Local fundraiser provides support for children in India


A fundraiser in Fairbanks Ranch on May 13 led by children in a youth empowerment group raised enough money to send 26 children in India to school for one year.

The event, Move4Mona 5K Walk/Run, is held through the Mona Foundation, a nonprofit that partners with grassroots organizations around the world to promote education, community service and human rights. It has chapters in San Diego, Los Angeles and Portland.

Last year, the local Move4Mona event raised enough for 12 students.

“One of the incredible things is that these children, when they are educated, they end up educating the rest of their community,” said Rancho Santa Fe resident Nava Ghalili-Wuorenma, who serves on the advisory board for the Mona Foundation. “What we find is that when you educate a girl, 10 other people become educated as a result, just simply because of the value she brings to her community as a mother, as a nurturer.”

The Move4Mona fundraiser raised nearly $2,300 this year to support more than 100 one-room schools for about 3,800 students near Lucknow, India, a large city in the north near the country’s border with Nepal.

The fundraiser also stems from a virtues empowerment class that Ghalili-Wuorenma and her husband run, which includes an annual service project. She added that the program’s mission is inspired by Baháʼí Faith, a religion founded in the 19th century that promotes unity among all religions and peoples.

“It’s a religion that believes in all the religious faiths,” Ghalili-Wuorenma said. “It believes that we are all one, that we all belong to one big family, and our entire purpose in life is to serve our brothers and sisters around the world.”

She added that it’s important for privileged children in North County to learn how to give back to their counterparts around the world, particularly those in developing countries who are less fortunate.

“Baháʼí idea is that these children are constantly aware of the obligation they have within their privilege to be able to work every single day to serve those around the world,” Ghalili-Wuorenma said.

The Mona Foundation worked with its grassroots partners to serve more than 1.6 million students around the world in 2022, according to the nonprofit’s website, in addition to training more than 8,000 teachers at 10,600 schools. Since 1999, the Mona Foundation has granted more than $17 million to 53 grassroots partners in 23 countries.

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