Ink and Metal of American High School is on a mission to bring STEM education to students in the Bay Area, combine their efforts in times of need, and inspire students through their outreach.
How could they help the most people while bringing many people together?
Rishi Gurjars tell us: “Once we decided to raise money for a food bank, we started looking for food banks. The Alameda County Community Food Bank really stood out to us when we saw the impact and influence they have on the county. They distribute food, support Alameda Community’s youth, help underprivileged families, and work with all the levels of the government to achieve their vision. The ACCFB also partners up with organizations like Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation and our robotics team, Ink and Metal. Their hunger-relief efforts were very inspiring for our team.”
“In order to raise $5,300, we had massive goals, and we knew that only fundraising would not be enough. We raised money through social media including Facebook and Instagram, but we also held engineering and coding classes to raise money. A thorough open-source curriculum was created by our team, and it is posted on our website for We asked the students’ parents for a small donation each class, and we put all of that funding straight into the fundraiser. We made a website, where we raised money. We plan to continue to donate a portion of our outreach donations to the food bank in the coming years.”
They believe their efforts have helped them get this far but if you want to help them reach their goal of $10,000, donate here!
Srishti Prabha is the Assistant Editor at India Currents and has worked in low income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women, and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.
Parents of migrants live alone denied the presence of their children in times of need.
Their children, immigrants in another country, send money home to ensure their parents are not wanting for food and help. Often migrants leave their own children behind with grandparents or family members as they seek a living in a foreign land, promising to return with treasures for both parents and children.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, one out of five workers are unemployed and many have their wages reduced, threatening to cut that lifeline of support between child and parent.
The inability to remit money home because of job loss or a decline in wages endangers the reliability of that support. A drop in remittance means that a migrant’s family back in their home country won’t be able to afford food, healthcare, and basic needs. As the money dries up, the pandemic will unleash unrelenting poverty and an unexpected pandemic of hunger for some families.
The number of people dying every day due to starvation will overtake the number of dead as a result of COVID-19 and the “hunger pandemic” will bring “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, warned UN World Food Programme (WFP).130 million people could be on the brink of starvation by the end of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and its economic ramifications.
At a webinar on May 8th organized by Ethnic Media Services and sponsored by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, to examine Covid-19’s Impact on the Developing World, experts reviewed trends as the pandemic spreads. Demetrios Papademetriou, of the non-partisan, Washington-based think tank The Migration Policy Institute, stated that the true effects of this pandemic would be visible in the next 3 months. Unparalleled economic devastation, the kind we have never ever experienced, not even during World War II, will reveal its true form.
Dulce Gamboa, a Policy Specialist at Bread for the World, discussed the impact of Covid-19 on malnutrition and famine in the developing world and the need for a global response to a new pandemic of hunger. COVID-19 could cause extreme hunger to double, she said. Malnutrition weakens peoples’ immune systems and children who are malnourished face long-term health and cognitive consequences. Bread for the World is urging Congress to expand health and humanitarian programs, strengthen the global food supply chain and social protection programs, and allow U.S. funded school feeding programs around the world to serve children while schools are closed.
The United Nations food agency reports that at least 300,000 people will die every day over a three-month period as a result of the outbreak and its economic ramifications as the catastrophic coronavirus chokes off cash lifelines for hard-pressed households in poorer countries.
Globally in 2017, an estimated $625 billion (USD) was sent by migrants to individuals in their home countries, according to economists at the World Bank. These remittances are important economic resources in developing countries. According to a 2016 World Bank report, remittance flows into these nations are more than three times that of official development aid. For instance, Nepal received an estimated $6.6 billion in remittances, equivalent to 31.3% of its GDP, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of World Bank data for 2016. In Sri Lanka, where seven percent of the households have a migrant abroad, remittances form 8% of the GDP.
Remittances, once considered more stable than other kinds of external capital flows, are now in danger of drying up as all countries have been hit at the same time with the same pandemic.
Stanford Federal Credit Union, located in Northern California, offers a faster, cheaper way to send money abroad. Through a new partnership with TransferWise, customers can send money directly through Stanford FCU’s online or mobile banking. This simple process means the funds can arrive as soon as the same day.
Stanford FCU’s international funds transfer process is also cheaper—there is a low transparent fee, and the real exchange rate is used with no mark up. All of this means more money gets to your loved ones.
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On January 28, 120,000 citizens in Seoul and major cities of South Korea, gathered to protest against forced conversion “education” by Christian pastors and to create an establishment of legal framework for punishment of violent behavior in the name of religion.
The Human Rights Association for Forced Conversion (HRAFC) group, a South Korean civil society organization promoting social recognition of human rights violation by religion, held this rally for the punishment of Christian pastors who have “consultation” with money and encourage families to kidnap their members who have different religious orientations. Recently, a 25-year-old woman, Ms. Ji In Gu was kidnapped and confined in a vacation home and found dead after she was suffocated by her parents.
HRAFC claims that the death is a typical case of forced conversion for the following reasons. First, Ms. Gu was out of contact after she told her friends that she would be with her family at a gathering. Second, the vacation home where she was found dead was reserved for three months. Third, physical violence between Ms. Gu and her parents led to her death while the parents stated that she was suffocated while they were “persuading” their daughter.
Back in July 2016, Ms. Gu fell victim to these horrendous attacks for the first time. At that time, she had been taken in to a Catholic monastery for 44 days and forced to have “conversion education” by a pastor.
These religious organizations claim to be helping and creating religious freedom. They have even threatened to come to other countries to employ their illegal activities. When will there be an end to these activities? For churches and those involved in religious freedom here in the United States, it is imperative to make known the dangers surrounding these practices.
As a Christian church here in San Jose and the Bay Area, we must do our best to protect ourselves from these organization and make known their illegal activities.
Rajesh Jyotishi, The Money Talk: Retirement and Estate Planning for Indian Americans. Advantage, 206 pages. Hardcover.
In the winter of 2015 when I worked as an analyst at a Swiss bank, one pressing concern was an acronym: DoL. A new fiduciary rule had been presented by the Obama administration’s Department of Labor and people wanted to know how it would impact the ability of the firm’s financial advisors to serve their clients. With a new President in office, the conversation today switches back the other way: does the industry need a rule to ensure its practitioners act in the best interests of their clients? The surge of opposition to an imminent repeal of the rule has resulted in a further piling-on from either side of the argument. The point here is not for me to argue in favor or against the DoL rule, but rather to highlight that it’s one of the countless aspects of a person’s financial life prone to uncertainty, tethered to the whims of the latest politician to sit on the iron throne.
Rajesh Jyotishi’s practical handbook on retirement and estate planning outlines the variables that one will encounter in the use and preservation of wealth in the United States. It’s a book geared towards the specific concerns of Indian Americans, whose finances often navigate complex family and business needs across multiple continents. Importantly, Jyotishi helps the reader understand the facets of their financial life beyond assets and liabilities. Whether working in California or retired in Karnataka, to give oneself the highest probability of adequately safeguarding wealth and securing the family’s future, there’s a lot more to consider than one might imagine. The journey begins with an inquiry and an open discussion, because it’s not just the breadwinner(s) who have something at stake when it comes to finances.
Here’s what this book isn’t: an academic tome on advanced estate planning strategies, an analysis of the global commodities markets, or even a how-to on picking stocks. Rest assured though, Jyotishi appears to have had the requisite textbooks on his mind as he penned this conversational book, which from the opening chapters details how he built his business and learned the nuances of the financial services industry.
Personal anecdotes and case studies provide the reader further comfort in his ability to survey the landscape and point out its hazards. Jyotishi also shines in his clarity, especially detailing the complexities involved with our trisul of modern society: money, life and death. Take this bit of advice on healthcare in the case of parents newly arrived from India: “a person receiving tax credits [to help pay for insurance] must also file a tax return in the United States and cannot be dependent on someone else’s tax returns.” His strategy calls for families to provide a monthly paycheck to their parents (as caregivers) through their business, and not claim the parent on their tax returns. Uncertainty around Obamacare notwithstanding, how many people were aware they could subsidize eldercare in this way?
Without resorting to any sort of fear-mongering, Jyotishi dispels the idea that these issues are self-explanatory—but he reminds us that through targeted attention, one can quickly gain a suitable level of understanding around healthcare, estate planning, retirement income strategies, and other important issues.
Books such as Malkiel’s A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Bogle’s Little Book of Common Sense Investing, Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, and even Buffett’s famous shareholder letters, may be in our bookcases, but they’re of little use when one’s income suddenly stops due to catastrophic injury, or one’s retirement plan of “moving in with the kids” is met with the blank stare of repudiation. Jyotishi’s book helps you to ask the practical questions first. He also gets you to consider the possibility of outliving your assets, of not adequately factoring inflation into your nest egg, of planning around stock market uncertainty, of getting the right legal documents in order for wealth transfer after one’s passing —especially important for business owners—and numerous other considerations that come well before “should I buy on margin?”
This is an important book for all the reasons mentioned above, but I did find it to be tone deaf in some parts: “The challenges of having too much money in retirement plans,” as a subheading would make 80% of Americans cringe—though that’s a style consideration versus one of content. The detailing of next steps wasn’t explicit enough for me, although these are numerous and differ by individual need —but I wouldn’t have hesitated to recommend that the reader hire an advisor on a one-time, flat-fee basis to draw up a financial plan that shows, with great specificity, what parts of one’s financial life are being adequately addressed, and where the blind spots are located.
I’m also a bit dismayed by some of the subtextual politics: for all the talk of tax avoidance, there’s no mention of what taxes actually do. Particularly in the case of estate taxes, which many economists argue as being one of the most progressive parts of the American tax code; its proceeds could, for example, single handedly fund the EPA’s annual budget more than twice over. While these are areas where a client should be free to make their own judgment, it’s certainly the professional’s duty to point these things out. I’d also delete the aggressively off-putting foreword— but that’s what second editions are for!
Monal Pathak has a background in economics and environmental science, and has spent time working in both consumer and investment banking. He writes from Seattle.