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Aapi rakesh
• May 9, 2024

Rakesh Singh is a man who loves a challenge. And even more so when it combines the most important values he learned growing up in India – spending time with family and friends and helping care for others who are less fortunate.

Those instilled values are exactly why he was so excited to take on a new challenge: hiking the Mount Everest Base Camp with his adult son and nearly 20 of his lifelong closest friends in Nepal. In addition to achieving a personal milestone with his son, they decided to use this hike to help make a positive impact through charitable contributions, and raise funds for the Anaya Tipnis Foundation, an organization that provides financial aid for first-Generation, low-income students entering college who can't afford college tuition.

"I would like this world to be a better place with less hatred," said Rakesh, who is a Senior Engineer with TD Securities. "My dad gave me those values and I'm trying to give the same values to my kids. If you give to others without expecting anything in return, you will get a lot of happiness."

Rakesh has worked for TD Bank for nearly a decade and appreciates the inclusive culture and support systems. In May, TD Bank celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. During this month, TD Bank shares stories and experiences of colleagues to help increase understanding and acceptance of Pan-Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities.

Rakesh and Shreyash Singh

The journey from local New Jersey hike to Nepal

Rakesh started hiking in 2017 with a local Meetup group on trips around New Jersey.

"I started very slowly because it was tiring in the beginning," said Rakesh, who lives in Plainsboro, New Jersey. "But I met people who were very passionate about it and then I found myself starting to love it."

Eventually, he built up his stamina and skills. Rakesh then wanted to take on the challenge of hiking the Everest Base Camp (EBC), a 10-day hike that covers 80 miles. Each day's hike is equal to the distance of going up the Empire State Building in New York City. Rakesh wanted to share the experience with very important people in his life, and now seemed like the right time to plan the trip.

"Initially I wanted to go on the trip with my friends, many of whom I have known for at least 20 years," he said. "They are friends who are more of a family, as they were colleagues of mine in India before I moved to the US from Delhi in 1998. Then my son, Shreyash Singh, wanted to come too. I can't think of a better opportunity to spend time together."

The group successfully completed the hike at the end of April.

"It was very tiring and brutal, but we took it day by day and hiked for close to 8 hours every day over a course of 10 days to EBC," he said.

The importance of giving back

Rakesh values helping others in any way that he can, and in addition to achieving a personal triumph –hiking the Mount Everest Base Camp with his son – he decided to have his hike help raise funds for an important charity in his life, the Anaya Tipnis Foundation. The Boston-based nonprofit charity supports first-generation students from low-income groups looking to enter college. The foundation was started by Rajeev Tipnis, a friend of Rakesh from their engineering college days in Delhi, and his wife, Monica Kachru in 2018, in honor of their daughter Anaya, who they tragically lost weeks before she was going to start as a freshman at MIT. It was Anaya’s vision to help students who did not have the access to opportunities she had, get the education they deserved.

"It's time for me to give back to the community, to the world," Rakesh said. "I have been very blessed, and if I can support at least one or two kids to be able go to college, that will potentially change a generation because they will be able to get a good career and have a good life. I am hoping they'll pass on the same generosity to someone else. That's what my parents and culture have taught me, to give it forward."

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