Since the age of 9, Kinkhabwala — who is now 17 — has been selling her art and donating a portion of the proceeds to charity. “It began as something small,” says Kinkhabwala, “but it became something else. It became a part of who I am.”
Kinkhabwala says it’s hard to remember every charity she’s given to over the years, but that she has given to organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Special Olympics. This year, Kinkhabwala has set a major goal for herself. She wants to raise $1,000 for Upang Manav Mundl, a school in Ahmedabad, India, that serves disabled children. Upang Manav Mundl’s aim is to teach students skills that they can perform despite their disability.
“Instead of a traditional high school education, the students get to learn a trade,” says Kinkhabwala. “They learn something that allows them to support themselves in a way they wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise.”
Kinkhabwala learned about the school through relatives. “They knew that donating to good causes is something I like doing, so they told me about Upang Manav Mundl. I visited the school and it was really cool. I feel like raising money for them is a really great thing to do. They deserve it.”
Kinkhabwala was impressed with the school’s mission and with the students who attend it. “I met one young man who learned how to paint with his feet,” Kinkhabwala said.
In pursuit of her fundraising effort, which she calls “Peace, Love, Create,” 20 of Kinkhabwala’s photographs are currently on display and are available for purchase at the River Garden in Brattleboro. The exhibition of Kinkhabwala’s art kicked off at last weekend’s Gallery Walk in Brattleboro.
“It went really well,” said Kinkhabwala. “I brought some of my photos and cards to sell those alongside the photos that are on the wall. I was able to raise some money toward my goal.”
The photographs on display were taken on Kinkhabwala’s trips to India. Her photography portfolio comprises primarily photos that were taken while traveling. “I love to travel,” says Kinkhabwala. “My photographs are from all of the places that I’ve been to.”
Though the River Garden exhibit features photographs on their own, Kinkhabwala also sells greeting cards featuring her photographs and her hand-drawn art. She sells her art at the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market a few times a season when the market hosts special days on which kids are allowed to sell. Her photographs and cards may also be purchased at the Austrian Haus Lodge in Dover.
Kinkhabwala will be traveling to India in June 2017 and plans to visit Upang Manav Mundl while she is there. It’s her hope that she will be able to bring the $1,000 she intends to donate with her so that she may deliver it in person. All of the money that Kinkhabwala earns between now and June will go toward her goal.