Today marks one week that we have been in India. As you can imagine, it is difficult to put our experience into words. Our days have been filled with song, dance, presentations, tours, introductions, adventures and lots of food. Gratitude is the theme; gratitude for the opportunity and ability to travel to this wonderful place, grateful to meet people here who are working hard to change lives, and grateful for everything I am fortunate to have.
One of my favorite parts of the trip has been meeting and interacting with children. A small group of us were lucky enough to be able to visit an organization that is a residence for young girls who have been rescued from trafficking. We met 17 girls between the ages of 7-17. They were bright, cheerful, and excited for our visit. It was a major highlight for me personally.
The next day, we visited Parikrma School, which is setting the standard for education. This school accepts a limited number of children from rural and slum communities at the age of 5, and educates them all the way until they graduate and find employment. They provide healthcare and 3 meals a day, as well as counseling and family care, including substance abuse treatment for parents who need it. The practices at Parikrma are innovative and we in the US would do well to follow suit in many ways.
That’s one major takeaway from this trip: how struck I am that even though our countries have many differences, our similarities outweigh them. At the end of the day, people want the same things. Things like safety, respect, health, education and friendship are universal needs. I am so lucky to see these connections first hand, and to be reminded that good prevails, and love is universal.
As our journey through the first week comes to a close, we bring ourselves to two astonishing organizations. On day 5 in India we were able to meet and greet various male students from the Bosch CSR program. The Bosch program helps those gain employable and life skills for dropouts or those who need the training and experience for the career of their dreams. This program is astonishing. It reminds me of the career center at Western that encourages us to network with employers, build our resumes and gain real life experiences. The only difference is that the Bosch bridge program includes education after graduation and a more personalized curriculum. This will increase the livelihood of a family tremendously. Education in India means a lot and we all need to help bring each other up rather then down.
The next business we visited was the Himalaya drug company. This company consists of natural herbal medicines and now products such as lotion, shampoo, face wash, and chapstick. Not only is Himalaya astonishing as a company, but it also contributes to society. This company has partnered with prisons to help inmates live a better life. The main thing in the US is that not only do we have the most people incarcerated but most of those released will be back in the system within a year. They have no help, and no life skills. Himalaya allows inmates to learn the skill of farming. They will help farm ingredients as needed.
Overall this trip has been amazing. Both organizations bringsomething to the table. CSR at its finest in a smaller level to a big level. More businesses or all should be considerate of the environment and community.