Elizabeth Sholtys is the co-founder of the Ashraya Initiative for Children. After growing up in Ithaca, New York, at the age of seventeen she was selected to be one of two American representatives at the Mahindra United World College of India (MUWCI), an International Baccalaureate high school located in Pune, India. During her two years at MUWCI, Elizabeth interned with a variety of local non-profit organizations, most oriented around the issues of child welfare, poverty, and specifically, care for and rights of the so-called “rootless and roofless” street children of Mumbai and Pune.
After graduating from MUWCI in 2003, Elizabeth returned to the US to attend Emory University. Toward the end of her freshman year at Emory in 2004, Elizabeth was inspired by her course readings and past volunteer experiences as a student in Pune to found AIC. She crafted the outline for unique residential facilities designed to empower and reintegrate these marginalized children into society, and rallied a group of close friends and MUWCI alumni to become the seven original members of the Board of Directors.
After establishing AIC in the US, Elizabeth returned to Pune to initiate the groundwork required for AIC to commence operations there. In June 2005, shortly after completing her sophomore year at Emory, opened the doors to AIC’s first group of street children in Pune. She proceeded to divide the remaining two years of her college career between Atlanta, where she concentrated on social sciences and public health, managed the Emory branch of AIC, and volunteered with several Atlanta-based organizations in her free time, and Pune, where she directed and expanded AIC’s residential and education programs.
Elizabeth currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband, daughter, son and their cat, Pippa. When not working on AIC-related projects, she enjoys photography, rescuing stray animals, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
“Courage and where it takes us”.
Cover story in the Fall 2008 edition of Emory Magazine featuring AIC and cofounder Elizabeth Sholtys, an Emory alum herself.