Eyes Open International is proud to welcome Vihasi Gandhi as our newest Regional Director in the United States area.

Her personal statement is as follows:

Myself Vihasi Gandhi, an 19 years old aspiring neurosurgeon. I come from a very ritualistic and religious background of Hinduism with roots deep down the ancient histories. I belong from Gujarat, India. I lived in India for fourteen years of my life. 

The value of education is something that I have understood from a very young age and hence has become my family’s American Dream. Neither of my parents had an opportunity to obtain more academic education than they wanted beyond Bachelors, because of the financial crisis they had to face. They committed early in my life to do everything within their power to instill in me the love of learning and an understanding of the importance of hard work and dedication to everything I wanted to pursue 

Because of their love and sacrifice over the years, I have been able to devote the time and energy necessary to academic accomplishment. Looking at my parents and their dedication towards what they do has made me want to work extra hard. We came to the United States in the hopes and dreams of living an “American Dream” which meant we were prepared to give out everything to pursue that dream. We as a family came to the United States in 2015 and were working hard towards our goal. It was very clear that there need to be sacrifices made to go closer and closer to our end goal which meant U.S. Citizenship. 

The struggle was there but so were our efforts. My family had a clear vision about our future in United States and like it is said that “When your intension are selfless, the reward shall be granted” and we came across Mr. Harold D’Souza and his organization- Eyes Open International. My dad met Mr. D’Souza through a friend and eventually, my dad got me connected to Mr. D’Souza. I approached Mr. D’Souza to be a guest speaker for my own non-profit, Students Stopping Stigmas that work in the efforts of erasing the stigmas and the stereotypes that is attached to mental health. Knowing his humble and down to earth nature, he was willing to attend my meeting conference with my team. We discussed our mission for both the organizations (Eyes Open International and Students Stopping Stigmas) and had a fun time chit-chatting about Mr. D’Souza’s experience and observations and the meeting concluded. He called me in less than 5 minutes after the conclusion of the meeting, he called me to ask for a CV and Biography and asked me a few questions about my future plans. I sent him an email with my Biography and CV and I got an email back from him asking to set up a video conference at 5:00 PM EST, which I did without thinking it too seriously but thoughts kept running like what can it be about? We just had a meeting, why another meeting but I knew something was happening. I couldn’t resist myself from finding out so I texted Mr. D’Souza the next morning about the same and he stated, “Hey Vihasi, I am looking to see if you have the potential, passion, and purpose to join a position if offered to you. Just Chill. Best Wishes, Harold,” this text boosted my anxiety because I had to put my best foot forward. The interview was only the second conversation with Mr. D’Souza and he presented himself as a father figure to me and that is something that stood out to me and for him to see the spark in me out of many people he interacts with on daily basis is something that I am really fortunate about and for him to appoint me as a Regional Director, USA is nothing but a dream come true. Being in this position is something I would have never been in otherwise and this position is something completely opposite of my career path but with the team and support like EOI, I know this is going to turn out to the best thing that has happened to me thus far. As someone who came to pursue an “American Dream,” I can confidently say that in some shape or form, it is happening.

I cannot fathom my thoughts and emotions about the excitement and joy this has given to not only me but my family and like Mr. Harold told my dad prior to this meeting, “Good days are coming soon” and I think they are here. Thank you so much for this opportunity and cannot wait for everything to unfold and I cannot wait for my journey with EOI to begin. Thank you once again.

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