Essay Contest Winners Announced!

Today Mali Rising Foundation announced the three top winners in our national Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest.  This year's essay topic was:  Why should an average person in the United States invest in educating children in a far-off country like Mali...what is in it for us? The top three winners are:

  • First place: Sarah Baum of Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ
  • Second place: Raksha Narasimhan of Lynbrook High School, San Jose, CA
  • Third place: Tani Madichetti, William Mason High School, Mason, OH
 First place: Sarah Baum of Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ

First place: Sarah Baum of Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ

 
 
 Second place: Raksha Narasimhan of Lynbrook High School, San Jose, CA

Second place: Raksha Narasimhan of Lynbrook High School, San Jose, CA

 
 
 
 Third place: Tani Madichetti, William Mason High School, Mason, OH

Third place: Tani Madichetti, William Mason High School, Mason, OH

Eleventh grader Sarah Baum is the 1st place winner. Sarah’s winning essay addressed the need for investing in education in developing countries by looking back at history. Sarah urged readers to imagine what should have been done at different, tragic points in history and then to challenge themselves to think what they could do to address today’s challenges.  Read Sarah’s full first-place essay.

When asked what she hoped her readers would take away from her essay, Sarah stressed the need for empathy.  “I want them to read it and think, ‘Let's change this,’” said Sarah. “And the first step towards positive change lies in the hands of young people. But to do this, they need education. The privilege of education is the privilege to dream. Together, we can make those dreams a reality and make a better world."

Our second place winner -- Raksha Narasimhan -- is also an eleventh grader. Raksha’s winning essay compared and contrasted the lives of U.S. and Malian students and focused on the power of education to empower children to build better lives for themselves. Read Raksha’s full second-place essay.

When asked how writing the essay changed her thinking about the power of education, Raksha said, “I must say I certainly took education more for granted prior to the contest. In the process of conducting research for the essay, I was floored by the charisma and budding potential in the children of Mali. Their willingness to sacrifice comforts in their life reminded me that education is currently a privilege. It made me realize that we must aid those in need so that one day, education may turn into a fundamental right that children of all countries possess.”

And our third place winner -- Tani Madichetti -- is in 9th grade. Tani’s winning essay made a detailed case for how investment in education in a developing country helps that country, but also the global economy. Read Tani’s full third-place essay.

“I hope that people learn from my essay that an ordinary, American, residing-in-suburbia teenager should care about helping children receive education in Mali,” said Tani. “Through my research, I learned that doing something as small as giving an African child an education can lead to the entire global economy improving, eventually coming back to affect you. It's like the Butterfly Effect: It is said that the minuscule flap of a butterfly's wings can cause a hurricane halfway across the world. Not only is it great for your soul, but it has tangible monetary results, too! If not for the karma, do it for the cash.”

The Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest asked students to build a creative, persuasive argument for engagement in developing countries like Mali -- far from students' homes and daily concerns. National winners of this essay contest receive cash awards and recognition.

This fall, we'll announce the theme for the 2018 Make the Case for Caring Essay Contest. Submissions will be accepted January 1 - March 31, 2018. Keep up to date at the Contest webpage. We're also looking for a national sponsor for the essay contest. Contact Merritt Frey for more information.

Congratulations to all our finalists and our top three essayists!