Positively Philadelphia: Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan and the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation's global impact

Lauren Lipton
March 24, 2019 - 4:00 am
was honored by the Welcoming Center for new Pennsylvanians.

Courtesy of Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The M. Night Shyamalan Foundation was founded in 2001 by the filmmaker and his wife, Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan. While it's based in Philadelphia, its impact is being felt around the world.  

"There is poverty everywhere, here in the states and in Philadelphia, but when you look at poverty in Africa, India and different places like that, it is very different and very painful," said Dr. Shyamalan.

She says the foundation has changed course from just handing out grants - which she says had very little impact - to what they are doing now.  

"What we do is look for leaders around the world, including in Philadelphia, because my husband grew up here. So we look for leaders who are bringing their communities out of poverty and oppression," she said. 

Dr. Shyamalan was born in India and grew up in Hong Kong, but now calls Philadelphia her home. 

She recently was honored by the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. 

"Women are women everywhere, but you don't think of them as being part of you. But they are you just with a different life. We met with some women elders in remote communities in Lamu, Kenya. You had to travel by boat to get to where they were, there was no electricity or running water. But at the end of the meeting, they would get up and say now it's time to dance," she said.