Hi. We are Disha and Jasper. And we are working as volunteers for SEDS. We'd like to use this blog as a platform to share our experiences with all of you. Hope you enjoy our journey.
It's our 6th day at the farm and after a bit of morning walk in the beautiful boulevard of our campus, we found ourselves headed straight to the dining area. The aroma of hot pooris and aloo (potato) made the morning air even more welcoming. As a rule, we take our breakfast (here or anywhere) rather seriously. A big one keeps us going through the better part of the day. And one learns to appreciate a non-intrusive tummy when one is about to meet a journalist and visit two villages back to back.
Shamola, a freelance journalist along with her friend Jayanti, came visiting to do an article on SEDS.
The two villages, Chollemari and Roddam, and SEDS’s contribution to their upliftment were a part of their agenda.
They began their day interviewing Rashna, the owner & creative head of Lilani, a boutique that employs and teaches village women to sew, knit and design clothes, bags, rugs etc. Their philosophy is ‘upcycle’ and their office is located on the SEDS campus. Rashna along with Basha (Creative Manager, Lilani) believes that every woman is naturally creative and with the right guidance can give life to her thoughts. Lilani has helped 600 women become financially independent so far. To know more about them you can visit their Facebook page.
Next, Shamola and Jayati paid a visit to SEDS’s schools, Anand Vidyalayam. It was lunch time and some very beautiful faces greeted us with curry and mudde on them.
Our next destination was Chollemari, a small village most known for its ‘fish wars’. Our gracious host, village farmers helped us understand how SEDS offered them solutions like low carbon farming, installation of bio-gas units and how to defend their fish. Basha, SEDS’s legal advisor and Mani, SEDS’s Area Manager were our amazing translators.
After exchanging a warm good bye at Chollemarri we arrived at Roddam, where we met women of colossal strength.
From working barefoot in the fields or looking for dry firewood to owning a dairy farm, SEDS has helped these women come a long way. Manil Jayasena Joshua, CEO, SEDS issued ID cards for women to help them open bank accounts without their husbands. This small act helped the village women find their identity and express themselves like never before.
Photo Courtesy: Disha Kathuria