Hi, we are Shweta and Kavita! We were born in 1993 and we grew up together in Kamathipura, Mumbai's red-light area. At age 15, we started planning our lives – we would live together, go to university together, move to America together. But we had no idea how much our lives would change in just two years.
When we were 16, Shweta moved to Kranti, an NGO that empowers girls from Mumbai's red-light areas to become agents of social change. But Kavita stayed in the red-light area, responsible for taking care of her grandmother, a former brothel keeper.
At 18, Shweta left to study in America, and just before she left, we learned the most shocking news! Shweta had never known who her father was, and finally her mom shared with her that we had the same father – so we are not just best friends, but half-sisters! Our father passed away from AIDS when we were both four years old.
After Shweta left, Kavita's family started pressuring her to stop studying and get married. She decided to defy her family and also moved to Kranti. This year, we decided to chase our dreams of living and studying together, and we both applied to Semester at Sea, a university on a ship that travels 12 countries in 5 months.
And guess what?? Not only did we get accepted, but Shweta received one of their Presidential Scholarships, which covers 100% tuition and room and board. Kavita received need based, merit based and the Impact Scholarship, which means she will be doing a service project and volunteering in all of the countries we visit. Along with traveling the world, we will study with thousands of students from many countries and also have amazing classes and lectures – can you believe Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Indira Gandhi have all taught on this ship??
Now, it's 2014. And we are two little girls, best friends, from Kamathipura – girls who were always told we would never amount to anything and never leave the red-light area. We still dream of studying and living together. And we have an opportunity to sail the whole world - we just need a little financial help to get there. Will you help us fulfill our childhood dreams?