Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good News from Ahmednagar!

Good news is usually understood as news of a particular kind; that of adding another unit of humanity to the earth, however, the news from Ahmednagar this week is different. 

A battle of sorts has been won...not the war maybe, but a battle definitely, and the triumphant foot soldiers are none other than the dedicated team members of Snehalaya, along with their two shining stars.

One is called Madhuri and she is no less than the diva we all know and love. Being raised at Snehalaya, without her parents, and fighting the deadly infection we all know has no cure, she has secured 62% marks in her class 12th examination and wants to be a nurse someday. 
The other, Parshuram, a member of the Snehalaya family since he was a baby, has secured 47% marks in his class 12th examination and wants to be an officer in the Indian Army. :)

Congratulations to both Madhuri and Parshuram and hats off to their resilience and hard work! May all their dreams come true!

Congratulations also to the entire team at Snehalaya and we hope that their movement for change will only gain more momentum in the times to come. 
For the whole story, please visit, http://blog.snehalaya.org/2012/05/success-of-snehalaya-students-in-12th.html

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another Road, Another Journey

Looks like we haven't spoken in a while. 
The adventures however; have continued, on a variety of, smooth and potholed, narrow and six-laned, dusty and freshly-tarred roads; and the diary has only got richer with the stories becoming more vibrant and intriguing along the way.  

Also, while the Gadchandur Chapter continues to offer new knowledge and insights through the rich data collected across the span of the last year, a new Chapter, that of Snehalaya and Ahmednagar, has written itself into this maverick's diary!

Context first. Snehalaya happened almost entirely as a miracle. The block was a requirement, Ahmednagar was just right, and they were happy to have an intern. Thus we traveled, to what is also known as, 'the spiritual center of India', and is the largest district of Maharashtra. 

Most people know it because of its proximity to Shirdi (home of the guru Shirdi Sai Baba), and because it is the hub of sugar factories in the State. Geographically, this map shows where Ahmednagar district is, in the State and in India. 

With a population of about 5 lakhs, Ahmednagar is a developing industrial center, facing many of the problems associated with rapid economic and social change; a huge slum-based population, and aggressive trafficking issues being prominent among them. In other words,  Ahmednagar is another opportunity, for me, you, and for public health and policy. 

This opportunity has been seized by a phenomenal organization called SNEHALAYA (now made famous by the association with the Amir Khan show Satyameva Jayate, read more at http://knowsnehalaya.blogspot.in/2012/05/save-girlsave-world-snehalaya-satyameva.html ), and it is with Snehalaya that this leg of the journey was experienced and lived. 

The call was for more visibility and more public awareness of the substantial work SNEHALAYA carries out, in the district, and we understood what unwavering commitment is, through observation and silent participation in this organization's drive for real social change minus any 'showbaazi' (theatrics). 

I must confess the organization and its people are about as obsessed with their work and its results as I believe myself to be!! In our following series of conversations, I'll tell you stories of how this group of people have brought real change, one step at a time, and how hope for a better world rekindles itself in your heart when you see them at work. 

Till then, keep obsessing over something that you think is important for the world and for you, and thanks for reading!!