Visitor to Ithaca College Will Share Experiences With HIV-Infected Children in India

ITHACA, NY — Shobha Vanchiswar — author of “The Lucky Ones,” a book of poems and photographs inspired by her visit to Indian orphanages that house HIV-infected children — will visit with students at Ithaca College on Wednesday, Nov. 3, to share her experiences in India and the efforts being made to provide the drugs and medicine that the children she encountered there needed. She will visit a class at 10 a.m. in Room 104 of the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise and a second class at 2 p.m. in Williams 221. There is limited room in each venue for the public to attend.

Vanchiswar’s humanitarian efforts are sponsored by the William J. Clinton Foundation, which was established by former president Bill Clinton to address problems worldwide — among them, the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Vanchiswar’s journey to India may never have taken place had she and Bill Clinton not lived in Chappaqua. After regularly waving to Clinton while jogging through the neighborhood, Vanchiswar finally worked up the nerve to start a conversation with her famous neighbor. On that fall day in 2007, Vanchiswar ended up hearing about the Clinton Foundation and its aims.

“He was talking in a way that made sense to me,” Vanchiswar said. “Eliminate the hoopla and spend all of the money on the charity work. I was listening to someone who feels the way I do. I really connected with what he was saying. I was listening to someone who has fame and power, speaking what's exactly on my mind.”

An artist, poet and award-winning garden designer born in Mumbai, Vanchiswar, her husband and daughter were moved by visiting India, where they saw first-hand how the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative works to negotiate lower costs for AIDS medications and works with local governments to improve health-care systems.

“The people I met through the Clinton Foundation are brilliant, motivated and energetic,” Vanchiswar said. “They believe in what they are doing.”

Vanchiswar’s visit to the college is sponsored by the Departments of Politics and Health Promotion and Physical Education and the Office of the Provost.