Sunday, May 27, 2007

OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO.

Whew!! This is going to be short because I just spent the last 45 minutes diddling around with my links. I have put up two new ones. One for Ellen, my new friend that has moved to Saratoga Springs and we met online. Last week we had lunch together and she brought me some hand-folded envelopes that she had made. What a woman!
The other is for one of my favorite charitable organizations, Food For Life Vrindavan.
A few weeks ago I ran into an old friend. She used to live in our neighborhood and has moved out to the country in a big old (OLD) farmhouse. So sweet. Her husband is a Hare Krishna and we have spent many a fine celebration at their house. She mentioned to me that they were having a fundraiser for their favorite charitable organiztion that is run by their friend Rupa. Since Xan wants to be a chef when she grows up so we try and hook her up with as many cooking experiences that we can. Last Thursday and Friday Xan spent the the day with our friend, Beth, preparing for a vegetarian Indian meal and then she stayed for the event and served.
Oh my gosh, it was amazing! We had samosas, palak paneer, deep fried cauliflower, chickpeas with some tomato stuff, and rice. For desert we had some sort of semolina pudding with orange in it and a sweet spiced yogurt with raisins in it. It was so awesomely yummy. We got to sit with some people that we had not met before and that is always fun.
After we stuffed ourselves to the gills we watched a presentation by Rupa about all the work that is being done in this town, Vrindavan, in India. What a mench. Not only does he feed people everyday, provide medical care, help with housing, has started a school...Not only has he accomplished all this. He has now started a program so progressive that I get shivers everytime I think about it.
In India, in this part of India, people are poor. Dirt poor. When girls are born they are considered a curse. A curse. A curse up on their family because someday they will have to be married and that means that the family is going to have to pay a dowry. Most, pretty much all, families try to marry their daughters off as soon as they turn 13 because at that age it is the least amount of money a family will have to spend to have their girls married off. Tragic. I think Rupa's school has been around for about 4 yrs. now and he has seen girls vanish from a classroom from one day to the next. So he got to thinking about how can he motivate a family to let the girls stay in school. This is how I understand his solution:
He (I"m sure there is many more people than 'he'. It is just that I have met Rupa.) is in the process of setting up a fund, an interest bearing bank account for each girl in the school. Through donations each girl gets money in the account. The family is told that the girl may have this money when she graduates from school. The money that the girl receives upon graduation is greater than the sum that the family would receive if they marry her off at an any age. What Rupa has not made truly clear to the family is that the money is the girls'. It is theirs to do whatever they choose to do with it.
Did you get chills? Are tears running down your face? Yeah, me too.
What an inspired thing to do. What a way to change a girls' life.
Michael and I have not stopped talking about it. We are so moved by this act of social change. The bravery and humanity of it.
Like I said, I added the link into my sidebar. Oh, the places you'll go.

1 comment:

Jane_hates_Dick said...

V, if this subject is something you're passionate about, I highly suggest a movie called water. It's about widows in India, but one of the main characters is an eight-year old widow. Warning: You won't be able to get through it without crying.

If you have a Netflix membership, it's actually one of the movies you can watch online from their website, you don't even have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.