Blog Post from India

Om Om Om (by Gita Krista Zember, Global Seva India)

Posted on February 14th, 2013 in OTM News by offthematintotheworld

Before I left for this Global Seva trip to India, I made space in my life. I didn’t commit to too much for after my trip and didn’t make any big plans. I wanted to make sure I left space for possibility and inspiration, knowing this trip had great potential for amazing transformation. I am pretty sure that is exactly what is going to happen. It has already begun.

Yesterday we visited Women’s Link International. There we met Aloka, a beautiful 72 year old Indian woman with an education from England. As a child her family was well off yet  she lived in a neighborhood where not everyone was so blessed. It was then she noticed the injustice of the situations of those living around her.

While in college or shortly there after she noticed the kids in the neighborhood running around, causing mischief and not attending school. Aloka then gathered the mothers of the  neighborhood and encouraged them to send their kids to school by letting them know their rights and by inspiring them to encourage their kids to get a better education than what they  already had. I cannot tell you how many kids I have seen on the streets and in the fields here in India that must be of school age. Hundreds.

It is now nearly 50 years later, and Aloka has not only found time to raise a family but to make change in society and the laws to help lift up underprivileged people of all kinds, kids that have  been trafficked or at risk of being trafficked, elderly, women, poor, and any population that is in need. She is amazing. The projects and change she has made are so amazing and  numerous I would need several more blogs to post about it!

Aloka has inspired me in a way that hasn’t been done for a long time. It was like when I met His Holiness the Dalai Lama which inspired me to help Tibetan Refugees. I left my husband  and my job and moved to Boulder, Colorado to study Tibetan Buddhism and language. Inspiration can take me far!

TODAY we visited Nijoloy Children’s Home in Kolkata which is one of 4 homes that Aloka runs to house girls that have been trafficked or are at severe risk of being trafficked such as  their mom is a prostitute. This home housed 100 girls aged baby to over 18. Many of these girls are learning skills such as block printing, jewelry making, sewing, cooking, and others that  can provide them an income so they don’t end up in prostitution once they leave the children’s home.

While there we painted a mural in the newly build dormitory room, taught yoga and mantras, took a tour, received mahendi (mendhi), and played ball games. One girl sang beautiful  Nepali songs. She and I just sat and sang songs together, hers Nepali, mine in Sanskrit. It was so beautiful to share so much together. Song, Love, Joy, Connectedness and moments to  remember forever.

Today we spoke with Aloka again. As she was speaking about expanding programs at the home, she mentioned how she would love to have yoga for the girls 3 days a week. Instantly I  knew. I knew what I had to do. I asked what it would take to make it happen and I am already thinking about how to make it work. I am so excited to not only find my spark and my  inspiration but a way to stay connected to this experience, the girls, this country and the amazing Aloka in a beautiful way that I hope my community will support.

I don’t exactly know what this project is going to look like or how it will come to fruition, but I know I am going to make it work and I am so excited to be able to serve in this amazing way  by bringing yoga, peace, love, and connectedness to these amazing bright lights that I had the pleasure of spending the day with. I look forward to the next part of this journey and  where this inspiration will lead.

Gita Krista Zember is originally from Sterling, VA and successfully raised more than $20,000 for the 2012 Global Seva Challenge by mobilizing her community and rising up as a leader for a cause she believes in.  Funds raised will help support organizations in India that are providing refuge, rehabilitation and economic opportunities to sex trafficking victims, and empower survivors to lead lives with dignity and respect.


The opinions expressed in this blog are that of the individual author and are not necessarily shared by Off the Mat, Into the World.

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