Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Thoughts from Setrawa

Thoughts from Setrawa by Juliette K. from France

I had the chance to stay in Setrawa during three weeks in July as a volunteer for Sambhali. I would like to share my experience and to encourage the other volunteers to go there.

First of all, its a way to really experience the way of life of a rural family in India, and also, to discover how women live there every day, what are the rules they have to follow and how it does change their lives.

Even if you have less comfort than in Jodhpur, you can meet a lot of women, girls and family, and have the chance to become really close to them, because they always invite you to take a tea, and they are really interested in sharing with foreigners.

In this village, you can find everything, but the level of education and per consequences, the condition of life for the women are still very hard and dictated by all the customs, deeply present in the village. All these traditions make the things very hard to be changed. But I believe that the simple thing to walk on the street alone as a foreign young woman can makes the mentalities slowly change.

Moreover, the work that make Sambhali with its Women and Children empowerment center since 10 years has already changed a lot of small, but significant things. Some girls from the lowest cast can now speak a very good English without being gone to school, and help the other girls to progress and to make their homework; there is a lot of houses where there is a sewing machine, used by younger and older women to sew their clothes and to take some orders from their neighbors.

Lots of women can go out of their house for 2 hours per day, to go to the sewing class and meet their friends, exchange, have a social life away from their families and all the heavy rules.

The exchanges with the volunteers are very rich, and depending on the women, its either an occasion to tell them about our culture, just to let them know that the things can be different and maybe, will be different here one day, or its more a listening work, where the women can express their feeling and some intimates things that are taboo here, with us, because we are not involved in the neighborhood's network.

But still some girls and women are not allowed by their husbands to come to the center, and its also very disappointing to see a young student, clever and motivated, being taken out from the center to get married and to leave her family to go to her in laws house.

So there is still a big work to be done in Setrawa. The place of the volunteers is important, because so many children are coming to Peacock class, and there is only three local teachers. The volunteers will have a class and will be free to make their own lessons, with or without the help of a local teacher for the translation in Hindi. Its also very important to bring new and efficient methods in the center and to teach them to the local teacher.

If you stay there, you will leave with the family of one of the 3 local teachers, so you could experience the rural life while getting explanations about the culture and interesting discussions with your host in English. You have a lot of time everyday to go through the village and meet a lot of villagers.

These real relationships, as they are simple and sincere, are richer than every souvenir you could buy in Jodhpur, and make you feel like you are part of a huge womens network all around the earth, very strong and powerful, ready to take more and more power together.


jack smith said...

In a word i can't say that it's a awesome post.
Help in Emergency, Women Empowerment in India

Stephy Daniel said...

My favorite Destination so far. This blog has an amazing information about the destination. The posts and blogs are very unique. Thank you so much for sharing the details of every travel place you have visited.There is a very popular Travel Agency in Delhi, India by the name of ghumindiaghum they have all current and latest information about different destinations.