Courtney Thrives in India
Hello! My name is Courtney Deacon Lalotra and I graduated from FIT ITM in 2010.
Following graduation, I went to India with a group of other FIT students and Professor Praveen Chaudhry. When the group returned to USA after their tour, I decided to stay in India and do some volunteer work.
I was working in a slum on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, Delhi. This slum was a dumping ground and the people residing here were known as ragpickers, since they made their daily wages by sorting the garbage.
I spent my time mentoring young girls in an orphanage, teaching in a school for children of ragpickers, and assisting in the administration of the various social projects throughout the slum including healthcare, education and community development.
I found so much purpose in this work. And because ITM prepared me so well for a global career following graduation, I realized that I could do even more. So I decided to move to India permanently. I founded a nonprofit organization, One Life to Love in 2012, and it was officially registered as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in the United States in 2013.
Following receipt of our nonprofit status, I opened an orphanage for abandoned children with special needs. We were able to rescue ten children from the streets. They are all blossoming in our orphanage where they receive twenty-four hours love and care from our employees and volunteers. I also started an education program in order to curb the high dropout rates of underprivileged girls. One Life to Love is sponsoring the education of over 400 girls in our locality. Girls who were once preparing to be married off at 16-years-old are now dreaming of becoming fashion designers, doctors, lawyers & international fashion business leaders.
While I was engaged in this social work, I met my husband Yogesh, who is an international logistics professional from Punjab. We got married in 2015 and had our son, Vikramaditya, soon after.
In order to offset the costs of our social initiatives, my husband and I started our own logistics and sourcing company in India, called INDspire Concepts. We manufacture handcrafted home goods and home furnishings in Rajasthan, India and ship to clients internationally. At present we have clients in UK, Japan and USA.
Through INDspire Concepts, we are running tours to India. These tours are focused on giving travelers the ideal India experience, introducing them to all the cultural diversity India has to offer, while allowing them to see our handicraft factories and the One Life to Love social efforts first hand.
I would love to host ITM students in India in the future and I do hope many come to visit. I am also very excited to be part of ITM’s Mentor program remotely from India, and possibly apply my Hindi speaking skills in addition to the other capabilities developed through the ITM program. I would love to mentor any ITM student who is interested in a similar path as mine!