Some people call me “The Princess From The Slum”
People often ask me if living in a slum makes me sad and this question always confuses me because I love my home so much! Here is where I live:
The only thing I don't like is that many times my brother and I don't have enough to eat and it can be hard for me to get water.
Also, in a month, the monsoons will come. It's hard for us to sleep when it rains because we do not have a roof. We use a plastic tarp but the winds can be very strong in Monsoon season.
Now, I wish to try and be a professional child model as a way to help earn money for a real home, enough food to eat, and save for a better education!
This page is for anyone who wants to help my journey!
I will be so grateful for anything because I never thought anything like this would be possible!
I am currently in 6th grade at a local government-run school. I have always loved studying. Getting good grades in school makes my father very happy, so I always get good grades! English is my favorite subject and I love to speak to everyone in English!
In order to survive in the city, my family and I undertake odd jobs to make money. Sometimes my family will go to TV and movie sets hoping to get picked as background actors. This is how I got interested in becoming a professional child model! There are many jobs like children’s clothing catalogues which I could potentially get cast in!
I feel that I have been blessed with this chance to gain your help. With your help, I may be able to study with a dry and safe place lay my head as I pursue my dream. A lot of my favorite actresses started when they were kids by following their heart to study and pursuing performing arts as well.
My family with the help of my family-friend, ardent supporter, and well wisher Robert have created this page. I think it is destiny that brings people together so they can help someone they don’t know. I am happy my story is touching hearts and making people believe that HOPE can light up dreams anywhere. We just have to be brave enough to STAND UP and DREAM.
We will post updates of my progress in this journey on my Instagram which is @MaleeshaKharwa.
My life revolves around school and household responsibilities that mostly have to do with surviving rather than thriving. But, I believe that I’m one of the fortunate ones. I live with my father, brother and older cousins who love me and treat me like their little princess - “The Princess from the Slums”. I love when I can do something for them to make them smile. This is just a glimpse into my little world.
The updates will be monitored and made by adults with the consent of my family. This, while keeping my safety and wellbeing in mind. My friends from NGO’s, Robert, and my family will ensure my holistic growth is well supported. I am so grateful for all the concern people have expressed for me.
You can learn more about the people who are helping me at the bottom of this page.
** HOW YOUR DONATIONS WILL BE USED: **
* We will apply the donations as priority to her education, food & shelter. A portion of everything received will be put into a locked account which we will save for an advanced education in the future. Also, if possible, Maleesha has stated that she would like to be able to go to a better school now. She takes her education very seriously and on her last report card got all As!
* With the first tier of donations, we will put money aside for her basic necessities such as food, sanitation, clothing & education. We aim to first save enough to get them through the Covid lockdowns & the initial process of setting up a local monitoring team.
* Finally, with enough donations, we will also be looking for some low-priced housing options. This will be the most exciting part! Her process for sleeping is quite difficult. Her family sleeps on wet rocks at the waters edge to try and stay cool but have to change locations in the night to deal with the heat and insects climbing all over them. The sanitation where they live is very low as they must use the ocean bay as their bathroom.
* We will also be creating a child friendly social media platform. With help, high quality vlog updates will be made to Maleesha’s Instagram and YouTube. Then, she can have sustainability through the profits of Youtube's AdSense.
* Simultaneously we will pursue safe training sessions and meet with reputable child talent agencies to MAKE our Princess’s dreams set sail.
* Maleesha shares, "I will be very happy if I can help my family to live a better life, too. I have many uncles and aunts and cousins and a granny who all live with me in our slum row." So in time we would hope that we may be able to expand the help to others around her.
* She also wants you to know: "I love dancing very much and I'm very interested in acting. If anyone can help me attain skill training in these arts this would make me so happy!”
* And YES, her grades must be maintained OR all else stops. She is aware of this and in total agreement
HOW I WILL USE MY SUCCESS TO HELP OTHERS:
People like YOU will be helping me be able to pursue my dreams of helping myself and my family live better as a successful, educated model!!!!
MY ultimate vision would be to bring international awareness to others in unique situations like myself so that they may also get an opportunity. First, I will do this with fascinating vlogs about the realities of my life at the moment. Many people can't believe something as simple as the ways in which I have to struggle to get clean water, or how the local authorities tear down my home and then we have to rebuild everything again. Then, I will partner with brands to make vlogs in which I take people on the journey of my first experiences with things like travel, eating at a restaurant, sleeping in my own home, etc. I will bring a unique point of view to the world because to me, many of these things don't seem necessary, even if some are very fun to experience!
Then, with enough resources, I can do the most to make a positive impact with charitable events and organizations. This will be my ultimate dream! I want people to believe and always keep Hope that their life can change for the better if we believe, are honest and work hard.
Many people have been asking about my safety and I feel very lucky that so many people are caring for me. I hope everyone can feel good because I live with my father and brother and I am surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles who can protect me. My grandmother lives in the hut next to me, and my aunt lives in the hut on the other side. Your concerns for me are very important so please feel free to reach out with any questions to the people who are helping me. They can be reached at [email redacted].
I am already so happy and surprised that anyone would pay attention to me and bettering my life. I hope that one day I will be able to help people the way that you are helping me. Thank you.
NOTES FROM THE ORGANIZER:
I am an American actor named Robert Hoffman @hoffmanrobert. I, along with the help and council of many local NGOs and many others, am working alongside Maleesha's family to navigate her into the hands of all those who can prove (through intense scrutiny) that they have the resources to assist her into a safe and on-going success story. First in Mumbai, and then internationally. I have been through all imaginable aspects of the entertainment business and am exacting a zero tolerance policy for any who cannot provide us with the best, most honest, and most well-established assistance.
Maleesha's safety has been #1 priority from the onset of this vision. She was provided a personal visit by Child Line so that they could help us to ensure her safety and conduct an interview by an independent third party. We are immensely grateful for their council and their proactive involvement amidst the difficult Covid lockdowns. Currently, I am having conversations with Brandon K Shaw at the US Consulate & The Dharivi Dream Project in India as well as Hope B~Lit, an organization that works for the holistic betterment of women and children globally. They are guiding us in details for Maleesha’s holistic betterment for a thriving life in the future. I have supported HOPE B~Lit’s projects with children braving cancer in the past. These NGOs are discussing how they can integrate their assistance and knowledge. Additionally, we are very grateful that the Danceworx Academy in Bandra will sponsor Maleesha so that she can take dance classes. While our progress has been limited by the Covid lockdown, we are doing all that we can to create an ongoing alignment as soon as possible.
I have been involved in charitable causes for children globally and always believe in doing what I can with the means I have. The “WHY” regarding trying to help others is a question that can only be explained by each individual’s soulful journey and a voice that comes from within. I am sure we all have experienced the bliss of giving without reason or expectations, just to better the others life.
I met Maleesha when her family came on one of my sets to try and get cast. I knew that she had a solid chance but that she needed help with the basic children’s rights to an education, food, and shelter.
I was impressed that she was such a brilliant child in every way: her thoughts on helping her family; her amazing, leadership-like qualities; amazing grades; and her focus on her studies. I wanted to help find the support she needs to give her a better chance at pursuing her dreams. She has amazing potential as a child artist and a model. Others and I were very impressed with her being extremely socially nimble with children and adults alike and depicting very healthy habits for setting personal boundaries. On top of that, she has a shocking amount of confidence, ease, and charisma in front of a camera.
Having been given help by others early in my career, I know what a difference it can make and now knowing how to craft an appealing platform which can be self-regulating and therefore self-empowering, I felt the need to pay it forward by helping Maleesha. With her all natural gifts, I am confident that she will be able to exit the very difficult life she lives and create a beautiful holistic future based on her education and artistic pursuits.
With the recent momentum from fans of her story of strength and perseverance and Hopeful attitude online, we now hope to create an exciting and sustainable avenue through her personal vlogs about her story. All this has been initiated with complete consent & support from her family after detailed & clear discussions. Her privacy and safety as always will be maintained, and content controlled accordingly by me and my team.
This way, we can create multiple systems of financial sustainability and she can exit her current conditions at a much faster rate. I have amassed over 100 million views on my personal YouTube channel so I know this landscape well. I will oversee the creating and editing of her online content and I feel very confident about the oncoming success of her story. We are also assembling a dedicated team of local people who can assist her vlogging upon my departure from India.
For ANY business inquiry received thus far, our first response contains a non-negotiable term that Maleesha will be accompanied by an adult guardian at all times who will at no time be out of eyesight. Maleesha lives with her father in a slum where she is surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmother who have a tight net of protection around her. Although, I have advised for extra caution in light of Maleesha's momentum thus far. Maleesha's grandmother lives in the next-door hut, and her aunt on the other side. Maleesha's mother is not with them and she has made it clear to me that it is not something she wishes to discuss. That is all that will ever be said on the matter until Maleesha takes an initiative otherwise. We respect her privacy on matters she wants to keep private and give it utmost priority.
Upon meeting Maleesha and her father, we conducted a video recorded conversation (with a translator) in which I informed them of the potentials on how this can completely change their lives. I also informed them of my history and experience in this field. I made sure that they understood that there would be a lot of good attention and bad attention if she became very successful, and that there was no guarantee of success. They took a day to confer with their extended family and then met with me to say they would like to take this path. In these discussions, Maleesha also made it very clear, of her own volition, that it was something her family supported and that she wanted. Her self proclaimed dream is to be successful so she can help people. This was when I knew there was no turning back.
During this conversation, we also determined that all donations and future earnings shall be split between the following financial categories evenly: 1. Immediate basic necessities; 2. Savings for proper housing; 3. A locked bank account for Maleesha's future education; 4. Career / social media tools and promotion.
Maleesha's father and I are in strict agreement that her education will be the first priority. Following after that will be the pursuit of her training and classes which are specifically geared towards children interested in honing the skills needed for professional acting and modeling. Our goal is to boost Maleesha's success to a degree that she is able to have a personal tutor. And, from there, act on her personal conviction to assist others in need. We will do this by utilizing the power of her international fanbase and established NGOs who are already finding the best solutions in a complicated society. Our aims are very high. If you meet Maleesha, you will understand why. She has an unbelievable spirit which teaches and inspires us all to never give up Hope and pursue the impossible dreams, even from the damp pillow she lays her head down on.
Maleesha's social media is currently curated and managed by myself and her father. I've constructed this GoFundMe page in collaboration with Maleesha and her father as well. She is not of age to have a personal social media account until next year. However, while 99.999% of her messages are wonderfully positive, not all messages that come in are appropriate for her to sort through. We monitor and respond in accordance with appropriate norms.
We are very excited about this journey and incredibly grateful for the attention and donations she has received thus far. I believe that Maleesha's undeniable appeal based on her brave spirit, her authentic story, and her personal convictions about helping others, will go far beyond anyone's expectations.
Any other questions, comments, or concerns are welcomed and can be directed to us at [email redacted]. Please note that any questions which have already been clarified above cannot be responded to, and please refrain from non-diplomatic, harassing, or hateful messages.
Please lets only send positive energy to these efforts for her holistic growth. Come join us in this profound journey and see her world with her child’s perspective: Always full of HOPE and joy in the little things. We can all learn and be inspired from it all.
That having been said, I feel so very grateful, excited, and responsible to help share Maleesha's journey with the world.
- Shreya thapa
- Su Than
- Sai Pavan Neerukonda
- Sonali Perera
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