Sunday, 14 April 2013

Women's literacy project, Gulabgarh - How the women of Gulabgarh found me

Ever heard of Gulabgarh? Where is that? On the edge of the Indian Himalayas? I thought the Himalayan range was in Tibet and Nepal ... in India, there are mountains? ....
This was the way I felt when I first heard of Gulabgarh. I myself, for the first time in India, had no idea of this country: its diversity, its colors, the culture, the landscape, the people. Just respect. A sentence of Michael Obert, a German travel journalist, could have been mine: "For a long time the idea of a trip to India inspired fear to me. I did not feel ready for the subcontinent and I feared that nothing might become of it. "
Today I can say, yes, India has not left me. What fascinated me, among many things on my trip to India (tour of Rajasthan), were the women. The barrenness, poverty, simple life, and then these proud and so sincere women. Quite strange, but they have left me the least. They activated me to think about me and my own life, as a woman. I myself grew up in Germany, well protected, with a good education, a college degree and a good job.
Later Tashi Chering, my Indian guide, told mein his reserved manner, about the W.L.P., which he has founded. As the result of a linguistic misunderstanding (yes, my English skills are upgradeable), I initially thought that it was a literary club for women (sorry!) and was interested only partially in the project.

Later, it turned out to be a mistake and I learned that the W.L.P. is a school for women in Gulabgarh in which the women are getting a chance to learn to write, to read, to count and to learn English. I looked at my Indian map for Gulabgarh and learned that many women living in the remote region of Paddar, in which Gulabgarh is located, have received no school education. Everything I had heard about the project, for me had hand and foot and I trusted Tashi.
But still – isn’t it better to support a project that is advocating directly for the education of girls? A project that takes care of the future of the girls in India?
But who take care for the girls on-site? Who is learning with the girls? Who makes sure that the girls get an education as equal as the boys? Who are the good examples for these girls? And who educates the boys of today that later, as fathers, they will make sure that their daughters will get a very good education? The moms!
And when I realized this, I realized that I want to support the WLP.
I am not a feminist, but I think we women of the world should stick together. And my thanks go to Tashi, who sticks, as a man, also by women J.
And yes, the Indian women cannot get rid of me. Even on my last trip to India I was introduced to a very remarkable Indian woman.
78 years, short grey hair, jeans and sneakers, studied medicine in London, born 2 sons, made a career as a doctor in Delhi and be divorced from her husband at age of 40 because of a "bad marriage". Unfortunately, I forgot to ask her name.
The power of this woman - I wish it for myself and for the women of Gulabgarh.
Greetings, Andrea

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