Riyaa Vakharia: Story of my small venture
“Firstly, I am Riyaa, a high school student pursuing an International Baccalaureate diploma at the prestigious International School Manila. With a deep passion to pursue a career in the field of STEM, my academic life is full of adventures in the subjects of Science and Maths. Meanwhile, my non-academic life is full of adventures in discovering this glorious planet. I am a high altitude trekker who has scaled three peaks in the majestic Himalayas and am also a PADI certified diver, which allows me to perform ocean dives independently.
I never realized that what started as just a hobby during my summer holidays in Grade 10 would help me find true meaning to life. I underwent a certification course in pastry and chocolate making from the wonderful Academy of Pastry and Culinary Arts Philippines. My convocation, though a simple ceremony of receiving a certificate, was highly emotional for me. The dream I had nurtured since childhood, when I used to play with toy utensils and pretend to be a cook, finally came true.
I was excited but I also felt incomplete.
On the way back home I saw a graffiti: “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” – 1 John 3:17.
It was a spark, a jolt.
I began to understand the void that I felt and wasted no time to start my venture, “Riyaa’s Chocolates.” Determined with the cause, I decided to donate 100% of the profits to the needy. My aim was to bring a smile to the face of the person who ate my handcrafted artisan chocolates and the child who would benefit from the proceeds.
Not knowing how to proceed further, I consulted a few people, who unequivocally suggested that I work with World Vision.
Not knowing much, I quickly scraped through their website and social media footprints. I was truly amazed to see the wonderful work that this organization and its partners are doing. I tried hard to elude the thought that while I was living a protected and comfortable life, there were so many people who were relentlessly working to serve the community, who needs and truly deserves the same comfort.
Today, over a year later, not a day goes by when I don’t feel a sense of gratitude to the people who connected me with World Vision. The steps that I am taking are tiny but the promises and desire are quite large.”