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Guiding the next generation

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Manish Thareja was ten years old when his father died of a heart attack.

He was raised by a handful of women — his mother and his two sisters.

“It left a huge hole in my life,” said the 36-year-old from New Delhi, India. “I always wished I had a father to turn to for career advice and things like that.”

That childhood experience led him to join the Bermuda Education Network when he moved here in 2010.

The financial analyst liked that it offered free supplementary learning opportunities for public school students.

“A good education makes such a difference to your future success, not just in terms of career, but also in terms of the individual,” he said.

He recently became one of the charity's directors.

“Working with BEN has been a fantastic experience and a way of giving back to the Island,” said Mr Thareja, vice president of Assured Guaranty.

“I came intending to stay only three to six months,” he said, “but I fell in love with the Island, and I am still here.”

He continued: “I love the fact that my work with BEN can positively impact many children at once.

“I am focused on raising awareness of BEN. I think a lot of people don't know BEN and the incredible work it does. To be a non-profit organisation you need money, so I am also focused on fundraising.”

He was so impressed with the charity's work he got a group of friends from overseas to come here and run the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby to raise money for BEN.

“We did it as a bachelor party activity because one of my friends was getting married,” he said. “We raised $3,000. It was a great experience.”

He is hoping to get other groups together to run this year's half marathon. Unfortunately, he may not be able to run himself as he has been having some problems with his knees.

“I am going to try,” he said. “I have been told, though, that I have to be careful if I want to continue playing tennis, one of my passions.”

BEN created a community-based committee at Prospect Primary to help the school identify where resources are needed whether they be teacher training, materials or more focus on a particular student group.

“I hope BEN will be able to expand this community school model,” said Mr Thareja. “If that model grows throughout Bermuda that will have a tremendous impact on Bermuda as a whole. That will really help solve a lot of the problems that Bermuda faces.”

He said Bermuda's economic recession has created an urgent need for students of all ages to receive financial and personal support, training and guidance, to enable them to successfully compete with the global workforce.

Mr Thareja is also an active member of Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist organisation with a branch in Bermuda.

“When I first came here there were two members,” he said, “and now there are 15, so it is growing.

“That is another reason I wanted to give back to the community. My personal value system, based on Buddhism, believes that the you have to work hard for the happiness of the people around you.”

For more information visit www.ben.bm.

Giving back: Manish Thareja, a new director with the Bermuda Education Network (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Manish Thareja a new director with the Bermuda Education Network (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 12, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated March 12, 2015 at 12:10 am)

Guiding the next generation

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