Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spotlight on a voluteer -- Madam Inspector

Getting locals involved with our work in a significant way is something we welcome. Everyone wins. Our kids get to interact with others in their society, learning from them or just casually socializing, and the volunteers see another side of society that they were not previously exposed to in any meaningful way -- the lives of the destitute, how they live, and most importantly, how they think about life.

When a street mom is so poor that her primary concern is finding enough food to eat for that day -- as is the case with the people we help -- the last thing that she is thinking about is the future, or bathing their kid, or brushing to ensure healthy teeth for the future.

One of our volunteers from the community, Anu, has taken a very active role in the lives of the kids and women. A while ago, she developed an interest in what we were doing and has since thrown herself into our work. She has opened her mind and her heart to our women, how they live, what they think about, and she takes an active role in helping them with the areas of their lives in which need guidance and support.

Anu not only donates her time (and often lots of yummy goodies made in her kitchen), she encourages others in the community to contribute what they can. She shares with us her knowledge, ideas, and opinions, and -- most importantly -- her desire to help the destitute in her country. She admitted that, for a long time, she did not think about why the poor lived the way they do, the problems they faced, and why they were ... so dirty. Couldn't they just improve themselves? Get a job? Find a house? By talking to them and learning about their lives, she soon realized that it's just not that easy.

Anu visits Karunya Mane for her monthly "inspection" and encouraging talks wth the kids. She makes it a fun session, while at the same time instills in the kids the importance of personal hygiene and taking pride in keeping one's area neat and clean.

Anu checking Swarana's ears and Sinchana's teeth

Anu -- and the energy, effort, and dedication that she puts into her work as a volunteer (she also runs a full-time eatery with her husband, treats her employees as family members, and takes care of her elderly parents) -- sets the example for others in society of how to contribute what one can in a most meaningful way.