Charlotte Teen Receives International Social Activism Award

7 hours ago

On Youth Day this Sunday, a Charlotte teen will be recognized as the first-ever North Carolina recipient of the Diana Award. Named after the Princess of Wales, the award acknowledges the social activism or humanitarian efforts of outstanding young people world-wide.

Mantha, left, with her grandmother, right, and sister, middle, in 2014.
Credit Shreya Mantha

Shreya Mantha, 17, created Foundation For Girls with her younger sister, Sahana, in 2014. She said it was born out of a family legacy of philanthropy.

“Giving back and philanthropy has been part of my family for decades,” Mantha said. “It’s truly a family culture.”

Mantha’s the daughter of Indian immigrants who moved to Charlotte in their twenties. She said growing up, her parents taught her to understand and serve her community. But she said it was the loss of her grandmother to pancreatic cancer in December 2014 that was the “spark” that started her work.

“[My grandmother] told Sahana, my younger sister, and I that if there was one thing we could do to keep her legacy alive, it would be to help at-risk girls and youth.” Mantha said.

Volunteers with Foundation For Girls conducting a digital literacy workshop.
Credit Shreya Mantha

That’s what Foundation For Girls aims to do by teaching technical and life skills workshops to youth in the Charlotte area. Mantha said the workshops aim to promote self-sufficiency and career-readiness.

Janet Ganoung, who sits on the foundation’s board, said she nominated Mantha for the Diana Award both for the impactful work Foundation For Girls does, but also because of the maturity and passion of its leader.

“If Shreya is our future, then we’re going to be in good shape,” Ganoung said.

There were 600 recipients of the award world-wide.