Meera and Rakesh
We (Rakesh and Meera) are both first-generation Americans.
Three of our parents immigrated from India in the 70s. Rakesh's dad, who is Indian by heritage, was raised in Myanmar (then Burma) but fled as a young adult to avoid ethnic persecution during military occupation. We are both Pennsylvania natives but didn't meet until we were living in other parts of the country.
Our families share a deep esteem for education. We were surprised to find we both had a grandparent/great-uncle who traveled abroad for PhDs in agriculture; we also have teachers, physicians, and lawyers going back generations--including one of Meera's grandmothers who was one of very few women in her medical school class. Our deep respect for education led us to our decision to pursue Montessori education which we feel does a great job of encouraging childrens' natural love of learning.
We were born the same year and our shared experiences growing up in the 80s have made raising our girls a fun way to relive some great memories. Surprisingly, our girls love Karate Kid and Star Wars as much as we did! And of course, we have tried to instill in our daughters' important values---like an appreciation for Bon Jovi and The Cure over Ava Max and the Jonas Brothers :)
We strongly value making our community and country better. We believe everyone prospers and enjoys greater safety and security when systems have a basic degree of fairness and integrity. That is another reason we appreciate Montessori education with its emphasis on peace, stewardship, and responsibility. We love to see Leela and Nina reflecting these values back to us from their studies at school.
Rakesh worked in an underserved community in central Pennsylvania for more than 15 years as a pediatrician and community leader, recognized with awards for best pediatrics practice every year while striving to provide care with dignity and respect to disadvantaged families in a depressed part of the state.
Meera has become increasingly involved in politics during the last five years, helping to charter a local chapter of Indivisible in Blair County, PA, organizing protests/rallies and candidate forums, as well as writing letters to the editor. Her actions have been highly informed by Sikhism, which is founded on the principles of speaking truth to power, respect for other people and the planet, and defending the oppressed--even at personal cost.