Karishma’s Story

Karishma Popli is chosen to join President Obama at the signing of the America Invents Act for her award-winning grant project to provide solar lights to underprivileged students in rural India and Africa.

Karishma Popli, a continuing Ambassador with One Million Lights, shakes hands with President Barack Obama, at the signing of the America Invents Act on Sept. 16, 2011 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia.

“I believe it is the social responsibility of educated people to help educate those less fortunate and confined by rural impediments.” ~K.Popli

On September 16th,the White House recognized the significance of my project’s efforts by selecting me to stand on stage next to President Obama as he signed the America Invents Act at my high school. I felt humbled and honored to be introduced by our President. I was selected because of my social responsibility grant project which combines technology and education in making a difference in improving the lives of underprivileged students in rural, underdeveloped villages in India and Africa by providing them with solar lamps to study effectively at night when there is no electricity.The results of utilizing solar lamps are extremely beneficial to our global environment and the safety and health of children. I hope to inspire more students to achieve a better quality of life and education by using solar lamps to study and then use their knowledge to help others. It is a small change that can make a tremendous difference!

I am grateful to Anna Sidana for generously supporting my project with a matching grant from OML and accompanying me to the rural village in Rajasthan, India for my first solar lamp distribution. Ms. Sidana also accompanied me when I was invited to meet Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr.Rajendra Pachauri, Director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Delhi, India; as our distribution efforts have a direct impact on our nations’ shared global responsibilities. Lack of access to electricity is a global problem which requires innovative solutions to reduce the harmful effects of CO2 emissions to our health and environment. Solar cell technology is the most cost effective method of helping the rural poor.The OML Ambassador Program provides a personal connection for students to make a difference in improving the condition of those who lack access to electricity around the world. I hope that my projects with OML inspire other students to share in our social responsibility to educate those less fortunate and confined by rural impediments. Together, we can make a difference!

The ceremony participants from left to right: John Lechleiter, CEO, Eli Lily; Louis Foreman, CEO, Eventys; Ellen Kullman, CEO, Dupont; Jessica Matthews, CEO, Uncharted Play; Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tx; Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Rep. Melvin Watts, D-N.C.; Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va.; David Kappos, Director, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office; Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary of Commerce. Standing next to President Obama are Rebecca Hyndman and Karishma Popli, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology seniors.

Read more about Karishma’s independent grant projects and donation work:

Haveli School, rural India Nairobi, Kenya, 2011

President Obama’s speech about the
America Invents Act 9/16/2011.