BRATTLEBORO — For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Aashna Kinkhabwala, of West Dover, has loved photography. She received her first camera when she was 7 years old and has been making photographs since. Always loving art and creating, she has sold her items at various local outlets, always donating at least 25 percent of her profits to help others.
Sometime between 6th and 7th grade, Kinkhabwala decided to create her own non-profit company, thus Peace Love Create was born. During the month of October, Kinkhabwala's photographs from her travels to India will be on display. Her hope is to raise money to return to India and to donate to Apang Manav Mandal, a school for disabled students located in Ahmedabad, India.
"This school teaches the children a skill they can use to support themselves so they can lead the independent life that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to," Kinkhabwala explains.
Apang Manav Mandal is a school for handicapped children, founded in 1958 as a non-governmental organization. Its mission is to focus on the whole child by imparting good values and attention to education, health care, and rehabilitation. The aim is to help give students' lives purpose while gradually making them self-sufficient.
Peace Love Create has raised money for a variety of charities, including the Make A Wish Foundation, World Wildlife Foundation, Special Olympics, and more. Kinkhabwala has plans to return to India in the summer of 2017 if she is able to raise enough money to meet her goal. She would like to travel around India and work with Apang Manav Mandal while there. She also has friends who are interested in joining her, proving that generosity and kindness are contagious.
Kinkhabwala is currently a senior at Burr and Burton High School in Manchester. She has plans to continue on to college but has not decided on a focus quite yet. Right now, she is focused on creating art and raising money for those in need.
"With your help, we can make a difference," Kinhabwala states on her artist statement, followed by a quote from Henri Matisse, a renowned French artist, "creativity takes courage."
To see or purchase Kinkhabwala's work or make a donation, stop by the River Garden at 157 Main Street, Brattleboro, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the entire month of October, or head to her website any time at PeaceLoveCreate.org
Michelle Stephens is a regular contributor to the Reformer, including her twice-a-month column, "Juicebox Confession." She can be reached at Michelle@JuiceboxConfession.com.