Most Ambassadorial Scholars wait until their scholarship year to get involved in service projects through Rotary. Not Esha Chhabra.

By Peter Schmidtke 
Rotary International News -- 22 July 2009 

She volunteered for a National Immunization Day (NID) in India and spoke to schools and Rotary clubs in District 5240 (California, USA) about polio eradication before she even started master's-level coursework at the London School of Economics.

"Once I applied for the scholarship, I started attending Rotary club meetings, and I slowly began to understand what Rotary does," says Chhabra, 22, who was born in Delhi, India, but grew up in California. "I asked our district governor when he'd be taking the next team on an NID, and I said, Sign me up!"

Chhabra and two District 5240 Rotarians went to India in February and spent two days helping local Rotary clubs and international agencies, including UNICEF, vaccinate infants and children in Uttar Pradesh. Staying with host Rotarians, Chhabra also toured Rotary club projects in Delhi, including a blood bank

Although she had traveled to India to visit family, her NID service was the first humanitarian work she performed there.

"It gave development work a human face," says Chhabra, who is using her scholarship to study global politics and international development. "You walk away feeling connected to these people and their communities."

After returning to the United States, Chhabra wrote an editorial for a local newspaper and organized a free, communitywide screening of The Final Inch, a documentary about polio eradication work in India. She hopes to participate in another NID next year.