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Teenager spreads hope to children in need

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By Nicole Lapin
CNN
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(CNN) -- Bake sales and recycling are common fundraising tactics in middle school. But Tara Suri wasn't baking cupcakes for just any common cause. Her cause was hope, literally.

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Tara Suri's organization helps orphans in Sudan and India attend school.

When Tara was 13, she was more than saddened by a trip to India with her family. From her sadness sprung the idea of trying to help the orphans in India and Sudan whom she saw abandoned by their parents, sometimes found in garbage dumps.

"It was somewhat of a revelation for me," said Tara. "It was the first time I recognized the economic disparities and the gender inequalities that were there. And that really touched me and I knew I had to do something about it."

So she started H.O.P.E., or Helping Orphans Pursue Education. The organization aims to give kids the opportunity to achieve their full potential with the basics, like a sturdy roof over their heads, that Tara and her friends sometimes took for granted back in Scarsdale, New York.

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The organization "sees education as a fundamental building block towards eradicating poverty and as a global solution to all the problems we currently face in the world," said Tara. Video Watch Tara's CNN.com Live interview »

Now, at 16, she has expanded her cause with an umbrella organization called Aandolan, which means "a movement for change" in Hindi. Through that fundraising group, Tara runs Turn Your World Around and Connect a Kid along with H.O.P.E., and gives a lot of it to kids growing up continents away who are in sad situations. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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