A Serious Note

An incredible call to action:

“India’s stunting problem represents the largest loss of human potential in any country in history, and it affects 20 times more people in India alone than H.I.V./AIDS does around the world,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, vice president for research and policy at the Public Health Foundation of India.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/world/asia/poor-sanitation-in-india-may-afflict-well-fed-children-with-malnutrition.html?_r=0#

 

For King’s and Country

 

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I am so excited to be starting my new degree in September! Since my personal statement revolved around India, and I continue to believe that all roads lead to India, I wanted to post some excerpts here:

“Once a week, I use an international calling plan to dial India. A girl’s voice answers, and the next minutes are spent catching up on her latest news. I am always relieved that Kirthi remains healthy and in school. These are significant accomplishments in a country with an infamous discrimination against girls. In fact, Kirthi represents a minority. Human Rights Watch estimates that millions of India’s children under the age of 14 remain in the workforce. Kirthi copes with daily challenges overwhelming for a schoolgirl, but others face worse. I am determined to work on behalf of children like Kirthi, whose childhoods are insecure and who deserve a brighter future.

My Hyderabad journey put faces to my perception of human rights issues. The faces etched most clearly in my mind were those of the children I met at a rural school adjacent to the radio station. Amazingly, these students laughed and played as much as I ever did as a child, yet they lacked so many of the basic essentials for a secure childhood. Since I couldn’t stop thinking about these students, I applied for a teaching fellowship with a nonprofit called The Modern Story. After being awarded the fellowship, I returned to India and spent six months teaching digital storytelling in government schools, attempting to supplement a rigidly conservative system with a creative development curriculum.

My students and I learned from each other. I saw how the reality of hunger, poverty and violence threatened to blight progress in the classroom. I spent extra time with the students whenever possible, and over many hours of cricket and badminton, became fascinated with the role of play for children in the developing world. My interest in human rights crystallized into a burning commitment to child rights.  After The Modern Story, I again returned to India to work with four organizations. Each focused on securing the right to education for students. My exposure to a variety of management approaches and the range of projects I undertook provided an opportunity to cultivate essential skills for nonprofit work.

My India experiences raised a set of questions: Can education contribute to safeguarding other elements of a successful childhood? How can global and local laws and policies succeed? Why and where is the concept of play valued?”

I will be exploring all kinds of answers over the next year in the hopes of returning to India with a new arsenal of knowledge and a fresh perspective.

Thank You

I want to give thanks to the India Literacy Project Hyderabad chapter, which opened the door for me to jump back into government schools during my time here.  I will miss reading books with some of the brightest and sweetest 4th graders you could ever meet!! I’m in the wonderful/horrible whirlwind of leave-taking, which tends to shut down my capacity to form coherent thoughts…so I will wait to write an in-depth post about what ILP and this school came to mean to me. For now, a few pictures.

class2I think they are excited for class to start!

IMG_4554So much personality crammed into one room!

portraitAttempting something, I’m not sure what!

cutie

smiles2

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Goodbye for now…