The Manjie Sikdar Scholarship

Manjie Sikdar Scholarship

The Manjie Sikdar Memorial Fund was established in 2012 in honor of our beloved daugher and sister.

  • Born January 24, 1981 in Ellis Hospital, Schenectady, New York
  • Died December 15, 1984 in Salt Lake City Children’s Hospital

Manjie’s Story

As told by her parents, Ruma and Subhas Sikdar.

Manjori Sikdar, lovingly called Manjie, came into this world for a very short visit, yet she made lasting changes in the lives and attitudes of her parents and siblings without ever speaking a word. Much of this short life was full of suffering, as this beautiful child did not see her fourth birthday celebrated.

Manjie was born with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) together with a congenital heart condition, discovered when the family moved to Boulder, Colorado, which is at an elevation of one mile. While in Boulder, she contracted pneumonia and was taken to the Boulder Children’s Hospital, and upon examination the attending physician informed her parents that she had a heart murmur, the so-called second sound that eluded the doctors in New York. Consequently she underwent open heart surgery for the repair of three holes in her heart at Denver Children’s Hospital. She looked fine for while, and the family returned to Schenectady. Trouble developed shortly thereafter. She kept having hypoxic events and had to be taken to hospital frequently. Tests showed that the patch between the two heart chambers was continuously leaking, because of which she was not getting fully oxygenated blood throughout the body. Because of insufficient oxygen intake, her lungs were also damaged.

In December 1984, the family relocated to Boulder permanently, as Manjie was sick in the hospital with what the doctors said was now a terminal condition. While en route to Denver, Manjie experienced a severe hypoxic episode on the airplane, despite an attendant nurse who travelled with her with assistance from the medical establishment and American Airlines, who even vacated the entire First Class for the family. Due to inclement weather in Denver, the plane was forced to divert to Salt Lake City. An ambulance was waiting for her on the tarmac, and she was driven to the Salt Lake City Children’s hospital. There in the final hypoxic event, she gave up fighting for her life. Manjie was cremated in Christ Mortuary in Boulder.

Because of multiple conditions Manjie was slow to learn to do everything. She was weak and could not walk much. She could not speak. She was also hard of hearing.

Yet this child was the central attraction of the Sikdar family. She was universally loved by all who came to know her or to help her. The Sikdar family enjoyed the support of a good number of friends who also had children with Down Syndrome. And despite everything, Manjie was sweet and very attached to the family. Frequently she smiled and that always made a world of difference. In her short life, she has been many places in the country and around the world. Many fond memories remain in film from those days.

In her brief life, Manjie left an indelible impression on many people. Her family feels eternally fortunate to have been able to take care of her, through good times and bad, during her brief stay in this world.

Manjie’s Legacy

As told by her siblings, Reena and Ronjan Sikdar.

Ronjan and Reena Sikdar have felt Manjie’s presence throughout their lives, despite having virtually no memory of her. Manjie’s life may have been cut tragically short, but we are hopeful that her love and dedication can help others flourish. By creating this scholarship, we hope to bring opportunity to an individual who exhibits the ideals that Manjie’s family has always believed in: hard work, passion, and commitment.

The Scholarship

The Manjie Sikdar Scholarship is a family-funded scholarship that will provide $2,000 a year for FOUR YEARS of college ($8,000 total) to one winner attending any public or private university. This money is to be put towards books and other classroom-related expenses.

The Manjie Sikdar Scholarship is currently partnered with Chicago Scholars.  Applicants must currently attend TMA, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and demonstrate commitment to and passion for some aspect of the performing arts.

Scholarship Recipients

  • 2012: Carman Chatman, Norfolk State University 
  • 2013: Roneisha Mason, Bethune-Cookman University 
  • 2014: no scholarship (winner received full ride) 
  • 2015: Mamie Mayo, University of Delaware
  • 2016: Emony Tate, Mt. Mary University 
  • 2017: Matthew Palmer, Western Illinois University
  • 2018: Auramaria Ramirez, Columbia College Chicago
  • 2019: Chasette Simeon, Governors State University
  • 2020: no scholarship (COVID-19) 
  • 2021: Vanessa Rivera, New York University
  • 2022: Violet Berlin, Michigan University
  • 2023: Lia Miller, Howard University

Fund Administrators

  • Reena Sikdar
  • Ronjan Sikdar


CharitySmith accepts donations in two ways:

By Mail:
The Manjie Sikdar Scholarship
CharitySmith Nonprofit Foundation
13100 Filly Lane
Truckee, CA 96161
Use credit card by clicking the link below.

The above Memorial Fund is established as a division of Charitysmith Nonprofit Foundation (EIN 87-0636433). All donations are tax deductible in accordance with federal tax law. Receipts for tax purposes are sent via US Mail within two weeks of donation. Please consider asking if your employer participates in a gift-matching program. If so, your donation may be matched by your employer.

For questions regarding your donation or this memorial fund please contact CharitySmith.

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