As such this is a wonderful festival of brothers and sisters. This festival also plays an important role in the society. This festival strengthens fraternal feelings and the spirit of kindness and goodwill in the society. This festival promotes harmonious social life by reaffirming the faith of citizens in the traditional values of love and protection fostering community bonding irrespective of caste, creed and color and highlights the importance of women in Indian society not only as a mother but also as a sister.
This week, I went with the chairperson of Ek Koshish to learn about the leprosy colony in Faridabad, before we visited an all-girls’ orphanage in Sector 15 of Faridabad, by the name of “Arya Kanya Sadan” (Hindi for “Communal home for girls [founded by the Aryas]”). At the leprosy colony, they explained to me how their charity initiated: In 1990, the government donated land in Faridabad to the people (and to family members of people) afflicted with leprosy. Foreigners and other rich benefactors, who supported the cause here in India, built the structures on the government-donated land. One of the structures, the hand loom shop, was donated by the German Relief Fund for Leprosy, along with dozens of machines used to make different types of fabric. The person running the shop explained that his parents were leprosy patients too, but they had passed away. Most of the workers are patients suffering from leprosy, but some of them have a relative who suffers from the disease. Nowadays, thanks to several health camps and intervention from the government, the number of families affected by the disease has dwindled only to 105 families. Afterwards, we visited a cow shed, operated by the people living in the leprosy colony, who sell the milk they produce from the cow shed to earn for the residents and for the organization as a whole. Heading out of the cow shed area, we found some of the leaders in the community, whom we asked if I could begin teaching some classes to the children after school. They were happy to accept my services, and we may be organizing the classes in the near future! Otherwise, they also suggested that we visit the orphanage in Sector 15 of Faridabad, “Arya Kanya Sadan.” There, the warden was happy to see my interest in teaching her students, of which there are ninety one, and I would focus my coursework on English grammar and conversational English classes. Now we are in the process of seeking permission to organize my classes in the orphanage as well. It may be difficult for me to get permission to teach at the orphanage, because it is an all-girls’ orphanage. Even if I am unable to get the opportunity to teach at Arya Kanya Sadan, I am looking forward to all of the work and different ways through which I can reach out to this community and help the truly neediest of people!
This morning, I went with the administrators of Ek Koshish to a small town in the village of Khedi, in Faridabad, where they support a self-sustainable orphanage. The orphanage has been running for over a decade, but since then they have been making a means for themselves by hiring women in the neighborhood to sew, stitch, and make all different arts and crafts made from 100% recycled materials: Once they sell their products, they can pay the women who fashioned these handbags, purses, wallets, and more, and also sustain the orphanage itself. They grow their own fruits and vegetables on the premises, and it is very safe inside for the 53 children living in the home. When I saw their goods for sale, I decided to purchase some of them, as they were very attractive, and I loved the idea of this self-sustaining orphanage. Finally, before reaching the orphanage, the directors of Ek Koshish and I thought it would be a good idea to bring some “Laddoos” (a famous Indian confection, a little smaller than an egg) for the children, which they all savored with joy. It was a real treat to see them smiling and enjoying our small treat for them. Here is an example of their unique approach to recycling goods, as we comfortably took a seat on these old tires, while we peacefully sipped chai with the orphanage coordinators. It was a very enjoyable day!