IHS Senior aims to end malnutrition

IHS+Senior+Sai+Mihit+Garlanka+-+Photo+from+Dallas+Morning+News

IHS Senior Sai Mihit Garlanka – Photo from Dallas Morning News

Ananya Sirigneedi and Ronav Aviur

Kids Within the Reach is a STEM summer camp held in Frisco, Texas that aims to find ways to end malnutrition.

Kids Within the Reach was created by IHS senior,  Sai Mihit Garlanka.

Garlanka was just 12 years-old when the idea for starting an organization to end malnutrition came to him. His science teacher assigned him to do research on child malnutrition around the world. 

On a trip to India to see his grandmother, his research was no longer a school assignment; malnutrition was happening in his own grandmother’s village. It was at that moment that “Kids Within The Reach” was born.

Growing up, Garlanka was involved in robotics and other STEM clubs.

“I just felt [that] conducting STEM camps was a way that I could not only share my knowledge with the younger kids in my community, but raise money and fundraise for a better cause.”

Garlanka holds both virtual and in person STEM camps for kids all over the world. The proceeds made from these classes are then donated to “Libraries of Love” and “Gram Swaraj Trust”, who use the money to provide milk for kids facing malnutrition.

“Last year, Mihit sent money to purchase milk for young people in Uganda and Kenya,” “Libraries of Love” director and Garlank’s former school librarian, Trudy Marshall said. I live there six months each year, so I was able to purchase and pass out the milk. I donated [the milk] to individuals, but also to different wards at the hospital.”

Marshall asked a group of  students how often they had milk. They said it was “a luxury.” Their families couldn’t afford it. One child even said his family only had milk for Christmas.

Garlanka understands that he’s more privileged than others when it comes to the food on his table.  

 “I could have easily had a different set of circumstances,” Garlanka said. “So it’s really important to make sure to help others who are in need, and spread that [message] forward.”

Garlanka thanked his parents for encouraging him to start “Kids Within the Reach.”

“When he first came up with the idea [for] Kids Within the Reach, we were initially uncertain of what he would be able to accomplish through his organization because he was only 12 years old at that time,” his mother, Sarada Garlanka, said. “But after seeing his passion for the project, we were proud of his initiative to make the world a better place.” 

Garlanka plans to continue Kids Within the Reach after high school.

What started as a kid teaching STEM camps to his neighbors turned into an organization helping hundreds of kids around the world.

“I definitely didn’t expect this much outreach,” Garlanka said. “I think it goes to show how supportive the community [was] when they saw what I was trying to do. People [even] started helping out, we started getting volunteers, we created a leadership team, and it just really spread from there.”