Orange County student’s book on financial literacy catches the attention of the Anaheim Unified School District

In 2013, farmers in Haryana, India were scammed into selling their farmland at unfairly low prices. The Delhi Land and Finance land grab case, as it became known, saw many Indian families lose their means to support themselves. The incident is not isolated; there are thousands of cases like this in India every year.

That’s what Oxford Academy high school student Rahil Luthra realized when he traveled to India in 2016 to see his uncle.

“My uncle Bupinder, he was actually scammed out of his land in the DLF land grab case,” Luthra said.

Bupinder was forced to sell his farmland in Amipur for a quarter of what it was worth.

“He lost his whole farm and was forced to go to the slums,” Luthra said. “We actually went to see him there and it was really sad. My cousins ​​were there. After I got home, I knew I had to do something about it.

Luthra brainstormed ways to raise funds and awareness and ultimately decided to write a book aimed at children ages 8-12, to help educate them about financial literacy. He spent a year and a half writing, editing, doing the artwork and then looking for a publisher. Her father found publisher Caitlyn Jones online and her company, Artist Madrid Books, helped make Luthra’s book a reality.

Rahil Luthra, a high school student at Oxford Academy in Cypress, has written a children’s book, “The Scam of the Sugar Farm.”

(Don Leach / staff photographer)

The result is “The Scam of the Sugar Farm”, written by Luthra and illustrated by Nabeel Hayder.

“This book is a fictional story about a family in India who get their land cheated and then rescued by a lawyer who has financial savvy,” Luthra said. “The purpose of the novel is to convey the importance of financial literacy, especially to the younger generation.”

Luthra is an active ambassador for the charity CRY America, a nonprofit organization that works to educate children in developing countries, and all author royalties from the sale of her books will go to the ‘organization.

The book was published in April and is available on Amazon, but it will also soon be available at Anaheim school libraries. The Anaheim Unified School District recently agreed to order more than 100 copies.

“They are implementing a new financial literacy program,” Luthra said. “They’re going to buy about 110 copies of the book for all the elementary schools in the area.”

Financial literacy is a skill set that Luthra says is lacking not only in India, but also in the US public school system.

“I feel like it’s a societal obligation to make sure our younger generation knows how to manage their money,” Luthra said. “When people leave school, they leave without knowing how to pay taxes, how to do anything like that, and we don’t really do a good job of preparing them for the real world.”

Rahil Luthra stands with his book, "The sugar farm scam."

Rahil Luthra stands with his book, ‘The Sugar Farm Scam’.

(Don Leach / staff photographer)

Not having financial knowledge also makes you more vulnerable to scams or exploitation, like Luthra’s uncle.

After graduation, Luthra plans to pursue a career in financial law and hopes to start a task force to increase educational resources in remote villages in India.

He also contacted other school districts that might be interested in copies of the book as Anaheim was.

“Of course, I alone cannot make a difference in the world, but if we can get the younger generation to read these books and be inspired by them, then together as a community we can try to bring changes and hopefully create a future where everyone is a little more secure with their money.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.

Louis R. Hancock