[VOLUNTEER] Saksham – Child Education & Women Empowerment @ Jaipur, India

Posted by swisscheese on Mar 21, 2018 in airbnb, jaipur, volunteer |

I went to India the day before my birthday last month and initially, I was a little scared since the news on rape cases at India is so widespread. I was skeptical to make a reservation at a AIRBNB accommodation initially but after hearing from a couple of people that they stayed in the AIRBNBs at India, I went to do the comparison between AIRBNBs and hotels. It seems like both the budget and high end hotels have mixed reviews of the good & ugly side of those hotels. As for AIRBNBs, I chose the ones with reasonable pricing and with absolutely no bad reviews at all. One of the three AIRBNB choices for Jaipur that I have narrowed down for my travel buddy, Laurie to select is Deeptin and Nitin’s home! Deeptin and Nitin’s home caught my attention the most as they are maintaining an NGO and we can volunteer for their NGO if we would like to. My passion has always been about volunteering and creating an impact on others so I was glad when we finalised our accommodation at Deeptin and Nitin’s AIRBNB.

The day after we arrived at Nitin & Deeptin’s home, we were so excited to volunteer at their NGO, along with our two other AIRBNB mates and 3 people from the hostel they are taking care of as well. He was showing us the slump areas, where the houses are too tiny and poorly maintained and the kids were roaming around in the streets. Nitin bought sweets for us to distribute to those kids. Then we went to a sheltered area, where we had to take off our shoes and could finally play with the kids whom he educates. We were singing along to “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” and all sorts of nursery rhymes with them. Then, after practicing all the English songs with them in a circle under the shelter, we went outside to play Ringa Ringa Roses with them. When the song ends with “ALL FALL DOWN” and they were trapped in the arms of Simon and the other volunteer’s, they will be excluded from the game and the game continues with the remaining kids that did not get caught. My job was to keep them in line and keep them going throughout the game.

The children became so comfortable with us that they started taking selfies with us and they were raising their hands to give us high fives. It was really fun watching them smile and laugh. I am very impressed that the money collected from Deeptin and Nitin’s AIRBNB and hostel are used to buy uniforms, stationary and necessary items for the education center. When it was time to say goodbye to them, we were so sad.

I was amazed to see the classroom Nitin created for the children and women to be educated in. As you can see from the first picture, it symbolizes for women to open their eyes and be educated in order to widen their horizons and grow. Women are capable enough to achieve great things and metamorphosize like butterflies. Although women and men have different gender roles in certain societies, their rights are still the same.

As for the second picture, it states that “We are visitors on this planet. We are here for one hundred years at the zvery most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. if you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.” Nitin got the children he educates to cover their hands with paint and place their hand prints on the wall. This adds more meaning to the decoration of this education center.

The third picture shows the list of women’s rights and calculation that Nitin has taught to the women and children respectively. He mentioned that they maybe able to count even better than us. This should be fairly accurate since we are so dependent on technology to calculate for us these days. The yellow paper with Hindi words on it is a memo written by an uneducated woman and when translated to English, it goes like that:
“Whatever we say, however we write them. How does these Hindi letters look like?
This is a school, how do I come to know?
How do I fulfill my dreams? How do I express my words?
How do I teach my siblings? How do I make someone my guru?
Will I be called illiterate throughout my life?
I have made a firm determination. I have to study. I have to do something different in my life.
I will make my own life. If anybody stops me, I will not listen to them.
I will follow my own path. I don’t need any support. I will be my own guru.”

This portrays how much women need to be educated and empowered. Apart from sharing with us his vision on continuing this education center for children and women, teaching women to sew in order for them to have skills for a more comfortable life and opening more sewing centers for women to work in, Nitin was so sweet to teach us the basics of the Hindi alphabets, as depicted in the forth picture, although of course, we might have forgotten it by now.

The last picture is a lovely picture of the founder of this NGO (Nitin) and all of us whom volunteered that morning.

Just look at all the lovely pieces sewed by the women that Deeptin educates! So just to fill you in a little, the education portion of the NGO is done by Nitin and his wife, Deeptin teaches the women how to sew in order for them to be financially independent and skillful. A lot of the cloth provided for the women to sew are from Non-Profit Organization and villages that use organic farming methods. If you look closely at the beautiful prints on the clothes as shown in the first to forth pictures, those prints are the result of using block prints called bagru and dabu print, which is sourced from a village named as Bagru, 30-40 km away from Jaipur.

In India, 1 kg of cotton requires 22500 liters of water. As organic farming uses lesser amount of water due to no chemicals being used, India contributes to two-thirds of the world’s organic cotton. This is only 2% of the country’s cotton acreage though. Thus, purchasing organic cotton is always highly encouraged! Not only will the people in Nitin & Deeptin’s NGO be paid fairly, it will be a fair trade for the people supplying the organic fabric and this creates a sustainable environment.

Although we did not have time to take pictures of Deeptin and Nitin’s AIRBNB because we arrived late on the first night and was busy throughout the second & third morning, the above pictures depicts the scrumptious food cooked by Deeptin & there is also a portrait of us and the well respected couple who not only keep evolving the NGO, takes care of their AIRBNB and hostel guests very well and have a home to care for as well!

P/S: Just to let you know, breakfast and dinner cost 300 INR each but totally worth your buck!

Both Laurie enjoyed our stay at Jaipur a lot because we learnt a lot from our Airbnb hosts, made a lot of new friends with like-minded people and found our stay very meaningful even when we did not have time to see more touristy places.


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