I was so thrilled to meet Rohan Satija, a high school student in Austin, TX. Rohan is the co-founder and executive director of the Let’s Learn Foundation. I was excited to learn more about their great work and even more thrilled to be able to introduce it to The Smile Project community. Without further ado, allow me to pass the mic to Rohan.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a Happiness is.
Rohan: Happiness is being passionate about a cause and pursuing it with your best efforts. I’ve been at my happiest after witnessing the spark of joy and wonder in young minds.
Liz: Tell me about the Let’s Learn Foundation.
Rohan: Let's Learn Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on empowering underprivileged students through education. Our mission is to bridge the gap in access to literacy resources such as books and school supplies, and we aim to improve the academic and emotional well-being of underprivileged children in our community. Through book drives, fundraisers, and collaborative efforts, we’ve donated over 25,000 books to more than 10,000 students, making a positive impact on their educational journey.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Rohan: I became a new American immigrant in 2017 when I moved from New Zealand. Feeling isolated in a completely new continent, I found comfort in books and eventually connected with like-minded classmates over our shared love for reading. I gained the confidence to express myself primarily through books.
However, through a school project, I learned that countless children in Austin (TX) lacked access to books and the comforting world they had provided me. I took this to heart and decided with my sister, Anya, that we had to do something to bridge this gap. In 2018, we founded Let’s Learn (originally called Let’s Read!), and ran multiple small campaigns such as lemonade stands and door-to-door cookie sales. Then, we gradually expanded and began to run book drives and bigger fundraisers. We’ve now worked with numerous school districts, libraries, and local institutions like the Dell Children’s Hospital.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Rohan: Service, to me, means demonstrating selflessness and caring for others without expecting anything in return. It's about being kind and making a positive difference in someone's life, no matter how small the gesture may be. Service is all around us and can improve both yours and others’ lives.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Rohan: People can visit our website, letslearninc.org, to donate or get in touch with us! Additionally, you can reach out to any of our social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram at @letslearnfoundation) to volunteer, donate books, etc. We are always on the lookout for new people to work with!
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Rohan: I hope our journey teaches people that it’s okay to start small! Service holds immense significance, no matter the scale, and all it requires is empathy and a genuine yearning to bring positivity to your community. Embracing this desire, you can create a beautiful ripple effect of kindness and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
Liz: Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice you’d like to leave us with?
“Your passion becomes a purpose when you use it to serve others.”
– Jay Shetty