I will never forget...
the sound of leaves, dust, and trash being swept up first thing in the morning; the busy streets starting to buzz at quarter to 8:00, the chirping of birds and finally the feeling of sun on your face as you step outside to walk to work--a peaceful walk--and when you arrive, the sweat forming on your forehead from the muggy Indian heat. As I return home to my busy and comfortable life in quiet and beautiful Utah, I will miss these things.
There are many things that I have learned during my time here, exploring Delhi and all of it's beauty and liveliness, working as an intern with Maitri, and learning about what it takes to make change among social issues and break social stigma.
To make Change you must take Charge:
While cars fly by not even 5 feet from where children are running the the street playing with monkeys while their mothers make lunch from whatever food their family can afford for the day, instead of being safe in a school getting an education--you may feel helpless or overwhelmed with sadness. No one likes feeling helpless, so perhaps it would be easier to close your eyes and pretend that social inequality, lack of clean water or sanitation, health problems and poverty as well as social issues, violence, gender inequality, etc. exist all around you. Right?
Luckily, you do not need superpowers to take on any one of these issues, you simply need passion, drive, and dedication to creating a better life for others.
NGO's do important work in mitigating these social issues that. It
is with passion, drive, and dedication that as a community, we can make change.
Now, I have learned many travel and life skills, what foods will make me sick, how to create a curriculum for an after school program, how to organize and lead efficiently and effectively. But of these skills that I have learned, it is still the passion, drive and dedication to a cause that I believe, will prove to be the most useful in my time to come, in whatever career I end up in.
To make a Change, I must take Charge.
Keep your eyes open, hearts hurting, and relationships flowing for these are the basis of what drives people to make change in their communities. Remember that by yourself, or as a team, with a vision for a better world and the dedication to something that seems impossible at times, to quote Indian guru Mahatma Gandhi , you can indeed "be the change you wish to see in the world".
Not only will I remember the buzzing markets--bargaining my way through them, or the rich culture I have been lucky enough to experience, I will remember that I am capable of incredible change.
Thank You, Maitri India NGO for hosting my stay and introducing me to these valuable lessons.
By Stephanie Gladwin
University of Utah