Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Diwali Mela

My time in India, working for Maitri, has been peppered with fantastic opportunities, including the chance to blend work with play. The month of October marked the celebration of Diwali or the 'Festival of Lights.' I knew there was a holiday coming up and was so flattered when on the Friday before the Mela everyone in the office, including us interns was presented with a gift. Each of us girls was given a sari and the most decadent treats! 

The gifts were presented on Friday as we would be working the week of the holiday at the Diwali Mela fair. I wanted to wear my sari but don't have a sari skirt. Wanting to try it on anyway, Laxmi, our housekeeper helped me put mine on.

'Sassy Social Worker'!

At Maitri's booth we sold, Diwali decorations, candle holders, scented oils and pickled vegetables, made in the, Maitri kitchen (Winnie ma'am is a fantastic chef!) The decorations are very similar to Christmas decor in color and luxury but instead of pine trees and Santa Claus- elephants and peacocks!

Check out these Maitri cuties! Anita and Shikha.

Our booth was dedicated to the Widows of Vrindavan as their continued care in Maitri's ashrams' is a top priority.

 It takes Rs. 6000 to feed one widow for 1 month and the money earned at Diwali was specifically allocated to their care and nutrition. The package of services consists of a daily nutritious mid-day meal which includes rice, chappatis, dal and vegetable with additional nutritional supplements such as calcium, iron and folic acid, health care support, visit by a social worker to ensure their safety and well being, and advocacy with stakeholders to ensure that the women get their entitlements as senior citizens of this country.

I am humbled by the work Maitri does with the widows and couldn't be more grateful for my time here. Please check out the following Maitri video to understand a little more about one of the populations we serve.


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