Sitting cross-legged on the colorful rug of our classroom, my fingers traced the bumpy texture of the book’s cover. The title, in big bold letters, held a promise of adventure. As I read, I traveled to places I’d never been and met characters who felt like friends. Reading has always been a significant part of my life, and I believe every kid deserves to feel this magic.
My name is Rohan Satija and in 2018, I co-founded the nonprofit, Let’s Learn Foundation with my younger sister, Anya Satija. Our mission is to “Empower through Education,” and we do so by donating books and school supplies to underprivileged schools. Over the years, we have donated over 25,000 books and 100,000 articles of school supplies to over 10,000 underprivileged students in Texas.
In late 2017, I became a new American immigrant when I moved from Auckland, New Zealand to Austin, Texas. Being just 10 years old, I felt extremely isolated in a new continent and became overly conscious of my accent and other cultural barriers. I completely turned away from my peers and found solace in reading. Books comforted me and eventually, assisted me in making friends, as I bonded with like-minded classmates over our mutual love for reading. I began developing the confidence to express myself solely due to books.
However, while conducting a school project, I was shocked to learn that countless children in Central Texas lacked access to books of their own, and were deprived of the magical world that they provided. This triggered a burning desire in me to make a change, and my sister and I embarked on a mission to bridge this gap.
We started small – eagerly setting up lemonade stands and tirelessly going door-to-door selling homemade cookies. In the fall of 2018, we ran our first campaign, a book collection drive in our own school, and donated these to another school that was in need of them. In the following years, we grew our efforts, and have now run countless book drives and fundraisers, our efforts are now being supported by several school districts, SMB and corporate businesses, and local institutions like the Dell Children’s Hospital.
Our annual Christmas project remains one of our proudest achievements. Each year, we collect and wrap books with love, ensuring that every student in an entire elementary school receives a personalized gift that opens doors to imagination and knowledge. Witnessing their faces light up with joy is an experience that reaffirms the profound importance of our mission.