At home in India, Paramnistha Kanadiya ’20 MPH saw a lot of poverty, particularly among the country’s children. Wanting to do something about it led her to the University of Lynchburg’s Master of Public Health program. Here, she’s gaining the knowledge and skills she’ll need to help many of these children someday through her own charitable organization.
“I’m planning to open an organization which will work for poor people and especially for orphan children,” Kanadiya said. “In India, there are so many children who do child labor and don’t have enough money to study and live. So I really want to open an organization which can give shelter and education to them.”
Kanadiya, who has a bachelor’s degree in basic science nursing, also wants to address community health issues at home. “My long-term goal … is to develop my own organization where I can help needy people in promoting their health via health screening tests and then treatment regarding their health conditions,” she said.
“For all this, I will need some funding and some practical knowledge regarding public health programs, organizing and managing health programs, [and] practical skills to collaborate with different investors and government, etc. …
“I’m also interested to work [in the] environmental health and epidemiology field[s] for my beginning career, so MPH [has] helped me to learn everything which I was interested in. I am very grateful to my MPH degree, which has taught me everything I wanted to learn.”
Currently, Kanadiya is finishing her master’s degree and getting real-world experience through an internship at Park View Community Mission. The nonprofit, located about a mile from the University, assists local people living in poverty.
Over the past several years, Lynchburg students, including those in the Bonner Leader Program, have volunteered at Park View. Students, like Kanadiya, also have interned there. “When I was looking for an internship, one of my professors suggested [I] visit Park View Community Mission,” Kanadiya said.
“When I walked in, I met the assistant director of Park View Mission, Rachel List. … She showed me the whole organization. She explained to me about the programs running in their organization. The programs running [t]here were exactly what I was interested in.”
At Park View, Kanadiya has served primarily in the food insecurity program, but she’s helped out in other ways, too. “Param has helped in a variety of responsibilities and projects here at Park View,” List, Kanadiya’s site supervisor, said.
“Mostly, she has helped us with gathering and formulating data. The data consists of donated food, individuals served, and various types of service. She has also helped to gather information about the organization and services to provide for community members.”
List added that Kanadiya “has been a pleasure to work with” and has helped Park View “create a better overall experience for our neighbors that we serve each week. Whether it’s greeting everyone that comes through the front door and assessing their needs and directing them to the necessary resources or helping to display information about local resources, or assisting in teaching some of our healthy cooking classes.
“Param has contributed a vast amount of knowledge, as well as compassion — something that we see as vital to building relationships with the people we serve in order to help them to the fullest of our potential.”