Miss. Ritika Mehra, RITIKA MEHRA (25) is the Founder and President of Bridging the Gap Foundation, an expatriate organization founded in Amstelveen in 2010 whose aim is to integrate the expatriate Indian community with the local Indian and Dutch communities in the Netherlands, through a cultural and social platform.

Born in Amsterdam in 1986, Ritika was brought up in the Netherlands but has always studied at International Schools. Having undergone an international education, Ritika’s thoughts on culture, heritage and identity blossomed. Being of Indian origin, yet growing up in Dutch society instilled a multi-cultural perspective in her approach to life, which was enhanced, having attended university in Bristol, the United Kingdom. Witnessing the cultural differences between India, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, she soon realized the need to establish a balance – being rooted in ones culture, yet at the same time, integrated in the local community.

In 2009, Ritika co-organized the Diwali Festival Amstelveen with the Amsterdam and Amstelveen City Councils. In 2009, the festival attracted over 5,000 visitors and has since doubled in attendees, where in 2011; more than 11,000 people visited the festival. Ritika’s participation and active involvement – among the other organizers – has established the Diwali Festival as a landmark event in exhibiting the rich, vibrant culture of India in the Netherlands. Her role in organizing the entertainment and cultural activities has gained wide acclaim in that the Diwali Festival stands as a truly Indian cultural event.

Noting the success of the Diwali Festival in bringing together the Netherlands and India, in January 2010 Ritika founded Bridging the Gap Foundation (BTG), maintaining her commitment to integration and cultural awareness. BTG strives on supporting local organization, charities, initiatives and talent. BTG not only stands for bringing together cultures but also binding the communities as well as bridging generations.

In this dynamic, international society present today in the Netherlands, Ritika symbolizes the young initiative and vigor of the multi-cultured youth as she continues to bridge the people and cultures of the Netherlands and India together. Her motto: Inspire a generation.

 

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