A background of the project/local partner in which they were placed:
Spoorthi Organization was started in 2009 under society registration act 1860. It is a Non-government organization that mainly focuses on women empowerment. The organization provides various trainings to women and youth in fashion designer, computer training, tailoring, organic farming, fisheries, horticulture, vermi-compost, art and craft, yoga, spoken English etc. Every year government allocates the fund to this organization. In rural areas the organization conducts various programs on health, education, youth camp, Livelihood, agriculture program etc. Cornelia’s host family is located in Hunsur. At present there is nearly 8 volunteers are working/staying in Hunsur. Hunsur is a Taluk center John is very happy to be a part of Hunsur.
„vivid colors of india.“ In a beautiful little town called Hunsur, in Mysore District in the state of Karnataka, is where I live and work. My name is Cornelia and I’m here for a total of three months in a women empowerment project
When I first started in the project the women of Spoorthi Samsthe (organization) were in the middle of an embroidering course. Every day about 20 women come here to learn and in time they move on to more advanced tailoring and stitching. It’s a small step for them to become self sufficient and an even bigger step on their way to equality; even though they might not be aware of it, it is obvious to me that this is the grassroots of the equality work here in India. My part in this is to help them improve their spoken English. A few hours every day we work together and in only this short of time, 2 months, I feel they have come so far.
After telling me what day and date it is we usually work with a theme of the day: numbers, food, body parts etc. And from there we try to build comprehensible sentences. Please note that some of them can hardly read nor write, while others can express themselves relatively freely. It has become a little ritual of ours to finish the class with the students reading out loud from a book. By now we have finished 3 short stories and I’m so proud!
But it is in between classes the real learning takes place. Both for them and especially for me. Here is were we get to know each other and share our different cultures. As they struggle to tell me about their everyday life in their broken English I gain more then I expected. These women are so strong and hard working and also the most warm and welcoming people I’ve met so far. They invite me to their homes, share their food with me and show me their family photos while arranging my hair. They already know all about my family, my friends and figured out my favorite food and my upcoming birthday!
I hope I give as much as I gain during my time here. I try hard to make an input in the project with the little time I have. To show the women I meet an other side of the world they know, my side
India, like any other country in the world, is not black and white, good or bad. It’s gray, no wrong of me, actually India is all the colors you can imagine. When I arrived to here I almost got blinded by all the wonderful colors here. The saris the women wear are beautiful and strong colored. I would never dear wear it it Sweden, but here it makes perfect sense along with the vivid people who, I’ve noticed, help each other in need, stand up for one and other and are not afraid to raise their voice in public. That’s why I find it so alien that the women are limited in so many ways.
Every day I see struggle that meets resistance. Uneducated women fighting for their rights and life improvement against an educated mass that stands in their way. India has a lot to learn from more developed countries in matter of not only equality but also environment and sanitation. But we mustn’t forget what India do have. Even though it’s a hard and limited life in the smaller towns it’s also a life full of joy and love, it’s easy to feel. I’m surrounded by smiles and curiosity, and those are only a few but important things I will bring with me back home.As I finish writing these words sitting on the steps to my house with the sun setting in front of me, amma hands me a cup of coffee, hot and sweet just as I like it.
I feel my host mother Kavya, my amma, cares for me like she cares for her two daughters Amrutha and Anitha. I’ve gotten to love her very much during this time and it will be a loss to leave in a month. Even though we struggle with language difficulties I feel her love when she gently pinches my cheek and says “Careful Conna” before I leave for a weekend of travel.