News Release

High School Student in India Funds Vaccination Program with Help from Supporters

April 16, 2001 Kuheli to share experience in on-line chat
Apr 16, 2001

April 16, 2001

Kuheli to share experience in on-line chat April 17th

NEW YORK, April 16, 2001 - Using money raised online through, 15-year-old Kuheli Battacharya has been running a vaccination clinic for extremely poor children in her community of Pune, India. Kuheli will discuss her work with the rest of the web-connected world on an open chat line from India on April 17th at 5pm Pacific Time, 8pm Eastern Standard Time.

Once a month since January, Kuheli and five school friends have run a small clinic at the Kartik Hospital in Chinwad where Kuheli's mother is a doctor. The initiative fills a critical gap in coverage for some of Pune's very poorest families. Children receive shots to protect them against Hepatitis B, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, and those who are malnourished have been given deworming and calcium tablets and iron capsules.

They use money raised on the Internet to buy vaccines and syringes and pay a nurse to administer the vaccines. The girls plan to track the health of the vaccinated children over the next 18 months. Support has come from individual online contributors all over the web-connect world who learned of her mission on, which provides users with opportunities to fight extreme poverty throughout the developing world.

"We feature small youth-led projects from every region of the developing world thanks to remarkable young people like Kuheli," said David Morrison President of the Foundation.

Kuheli's initiative is one of dozens supported through Netaid's "Be the Change" program, which borrows its name from Gandhi who was quoted as saying: "Be the change you want to see in the world." has partnered with Peace Child International, a British-based organization staffed by student interns who help manage similar youth-led initiatives in about 120 countries.

'Be the Change' includes projects that range in cost from less than $500 to about $6,000. They can be funded by online contributions or 'adopted' by individuals, groups and organizations.

"Kuheli started out with funding of just $720," said Morrison. "But the value of what she has been able to do so far to help safeguard the lives of these children simply cannot be measured." carries frequent progress reports from Kuheli. In one of her first letters to supporters, Kuheli wrote: "All of us on the project are very excited and look forward to enhancing the quality of life of poor children to ensure that each child reaches adult life physically and mentally sound--We received a funding of $720 from which is the complete amount I asked for. I was pleasantly surprised since these days very few people take us 'kids' seriously.

Cisco's CSS11000 Series Content Service Switch will be used to provide load balancing, denial of service protection, and overflow services to ensure maximum Web performance and content availability during and after the chat.

To register for the chat with Kuheli visit: For more information about 'Be the Change' and Peace Child International: directs contributions and on-line volunteers to innovative programs that create opportunities to help eliminate poverty around the world. The website enables Internet users to:

  • Learn about development projects around the world;
  • Be advocates for important social causes;
  • Donate directly to programs that help people in a tangible way;
  • Volunteer their talents on-line - on their own time from their own computer; and
  • Monitor a project's progress - in real time. was founded by Cisco Systems and the United Nations Development Program to provide Internet users with opportunities to take action on extreme poverty around the world. All contributions to go directly to support development projects.

Sponsoring and Participating Organizations

The chat with Kuheli will be hosted by,, a leading community site for teenagers which supports the 'Be the Change' program. At, young people are awarded ePoints for activities on the site. The points can be redeemed for prizes. Madhive has given its awardees the opportunity to convert their points to cash for "Be the Change" projects.

Peacechild International


Cisco Systems, Inc.
Cisco Networking Academies
Concentric Media
Cisco Systems Content Networking
Girl Geeks