There are some people in this world who seem destined to find what they love early on and just do it – those who don’t ask “what if,” but rather “why not” and “when.” Such is the case for Sucheta Rawal, a young Atlanta professor, writer and cooking instructor who has established Go Eat Give, a movement that brings together international travel, volunteerism and cuisine.
Originally from India, Sucheta spent her childhood visiting orphanages and schools for the blind with her grandmother, a pro-bono social worker. Those early experiences instilled in her the importance of giving back to the community, and taught her the bonds that all people share: the desire to be happy, healthy and peaceful. When Sucheta moved to the United States at age 17, she brought with her these teachings and immediately became involved with student service groups, and later in service activities through her employment with Fortune 500 companies.
Sucheta was already an experienced world traveler, taking trips mostly for fun. She had also developed a healthy appetite for international cuisine, and began learning and teaching international cooking and writing restaurant reviews and food articles. Then in 2009, she took a trip to Russia that would change her entire perspective and prove to be the inspiration behind her current project: Go Eat Give.
It was her first volunteer vacation, and she spent her days at orphanages, hospitals and senior-care homes, her evenings exploring the city and traveling, all the while enjoying home-cooked, local meals. It was the perfect combination of everything she loved: volunteerism, travel and international cuisine. In 2010 Sucheta took a similar trip to Morocco, this time bringing with her two friends. They spent their time teaching English at a women’s empowerment center in Rabat and taking Moroccan cooking classes. It was then that the idea for Go Eat Give was born; if her friends enjoyed these three experiences combined as much as she did, surely there were many others.
Today, Go Eat Give is a movement that “connects people, places and palates” and provides a way for people internationally to connect meaningfully over the one thing that unites us all – love of a great meal. Sucheta said, “I hardly know anyone who doesn’t enjoy food or travel or want to see the world. My purpose is to convince these people that their experience would be richer if they interacted with the local communities they visited, by sharing their skills and talents through volunteer work. I am especially targeting the younger generation, who is more open-minded, exposed to many cultures, and prioritizes a rich life over a bank balance.”
This year, Sucheta inspired four others to volunteer in Peru, and she is now organizing another trip to South America. She hopes to spend part of the summer in Spain and already has plans to visit India, Nepal and Bhutan in the fall. According to Sucheta, “Be it in India, in [the] USA or in Russia, we all share the common thread of civilization. We all want to have a good life where we are able to have access to necessities, have good health, peace and happiness, be recognized at work or [in our] communities, have someone to share our love with, and be close to our families. Those are the most important things in life for each one of us!” Next, Sucheta has plans to form a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to young people who want to commit their time to doing volunteer work abroad.
To learn how you can become involved with Go Eat Give, visit the website, or find “Go Eat Give” on Facebook or Twitter. Sucheta encourages visitors to share stories and feedback, and to contact her with any questions about international travel, volunteerism or cuisine. Sucheta said, “The world is becoming a smaller place and we are more connected to each other than we ever were. That is why it is more important now to understand our differences, accept them and incorporate them into our entities. Go Eat Give is a phenomenon of the 21st century.”