Bandana Kumari, a former student of The Other Side in Anupshahr, India, will be joining us at our Winter Festival in 2016 as a Guest of Honor.  She has broken down so many barriers against her by following her dreams and getting a higher education in America.



What is your name?

Bandana Kumari

Where are you from?

Jattari, India.

How old are you?


Why are you in the United States? What’s this program?

I am an appointed student by the US Department of State. The Program is called Community College Initiative Program.

How is doing this program something unique for a girl from your region?

I am here on a scholarship which is going to help me a lot in my upcoming strategies. This is unique for a girl like me from a rural area, where we don’t usually have so many opportunities.

How did you come to know about The Other Side?

I was training at a Call Center in Pardada-Pardadi School, which is an NGO in India. Consequently, Melanie Closs (Executive Director) visited India as a volunteer in PPES school. We met there and she was running a drama exchange. Thus I became the part of that drama for The Other Side.

Why is working at a call center empowering for you?

It is empowering because being a customer executive, we face various situations which progress our skills.  We can survive in a better manner in our own community and raise our voice against inappropriate thoughts.

If you weren’t in the call center training program or the us, what would you be doing in your town?

Nothing special. I could get married and have kids. That would be my life.

What is one way in which doing the other side program has changed you, helped you, or influenced you?

I think The Other Side made me a free thinker.

Why is drama important for girls?

In my opinion, drama improves our thought process.

Why is learning about other girls in other parts of the world important?

We must know about other parts of world and other girls. Accordingly, we can realize our own similarities and responsibilities.

What is a message you would like to send to girls in rural parts of India, like you?

I would say to a girl who is like me to never stop working towards your goal. Someday, you will make it.

What is a message you would like to send to girls all over the world?

I would love to say for all girls in this world to please recognize your own strengths, know yourself and never give up.

How are you feeling about visiting New York and joining The Other Side Winter Festival as a guest of honor?

I am feeling blessed. I can’t wait to visit my dream city, and I am enthusiastic for The Other Side Winter Festival.