I always think that if I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time as a girl, my life would have been completely different. It is not a thought that is lost on me. I am thankful that I grew up fortunate enough to have the ability to take things like education for granted. However, this is not the case in many countries where they can barely make ends meet. Education is just a notion for these people. However, even though it is a luxury, it really is a necessity. Education is a means of lifting a family out of poverty and helping a community. Education is power. That is why the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project spoke to me.
The concept of poverty is lost on many of us. Partially because we have no interaction or experience of what that really is. Our next meal, having clean water, electricity with the flip of a switch, the clothes on our back or the simple privilege of being able to write down or read our name are all things that are not even contemplated. Not for even a second. But these are luxuries for many.
I remember the moment I first understood what poverty is, what need really is. I was about 7 or 8 years old and my family and I had stopped over in Mumbai on our way Kerala, India. On our car ride from the airport, from my window, I saw makeshift houses packed together with garbage strewn everywhere and a stench to accompany. It was in that chaos I saw the near skeleton of a naked child barely two years old, sitting on the dirt floor crying. His mother was nowhere in sight and nobody paid him any mind. As I continued to look on, a mother with two little children came up to our car window begging for food. I realized they were just one of many. These children were lucky if they received a meal let alone an education. They would probably grow up and die in these slums. This was the only life they were fated to know.
That image of the slums of Mumbai never left me. I always knew I wanted to help make a change- be a part of something that would somehow improve lives and bring hope. I was first introduced to Shanti Bhavan through my cousin. She had volunteered with them and came back sharing her experience and found the children incredibly strong and inspirational. They did not let where they came from define them. Shanti Bhavan is a school where children from impoverished households (some that makes less than a dollar a day) are given the opportunity of an education. From the age of four, the school provides them with food, board and education. These children, who may have otherwise lived tragic lives, go onto become doctors, engineers, lawyers, authors and more. They in turn uplift their families and communities thus helping to break the cycle of poverty.
We become engrossed in the minutiae of our daily lives so much so that we forget that a whole other world exists. I believe it is our duty and destiny as global citizens to help humanity- especially those of us who are so fortunate. It is through our actions that future generations will learn and understand that it is their responsibility to help and initiate change, as well. As a new mother, I want that for my child. Be kind, be thoughtful and above all share. It is with that goal that Arya Essentials is proud to partner with Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project. For every purchase that you make we will donate towards the cause.
Love & Light,