Ahmedabad – January 27, 2010
The most memorable part of our trip to India was the visit to the historic ashram that Gandhi used as his base. The sense of history there is undeniably strong. The care, thoughtfulness and compassion that we associate with Gandhi is still present in the demeanor and good work of the staff and volunteers there today. Simply put, they are angels on earth. Visit the website of their NGO for more information and to volunteer: www.manavsadhna.org
Our visit was divided into two parts: a tour of the slum adjacent to the ashram where they work and a workshop/performance which was attended by a 200 teachers-in-training, children and observers.
Anjali Desai was our wonderful tour guide through the slum neighborhood (named – Ramapir No Tekro). She was a wealth of information and gave us a sense of life there and the struggle, motivation, inspiration, persistence and patience that is required to maintain the battle against poverty. Here she details plans for the construction of a women’s center:
One of the main sources of income and work in this particular slum is trash collection and recycling:
This work can be dangerous, especially for children. One of the ashrams main missions is to get children to attend school. They have many programs to do this – most of them boil down to dealing with each individual family and child and social work But they also have larger projects like the construction of the newest school in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood view from the school:
Here are some pictures from Tekro and the people we met on the way:
Living at the school was an old man and disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave, the founder of the Bhoodan Movement, which aimed at persuading land lords to voluntarily denote their excess land for distribution among landless people. This gentleman had participated in the long marches across the country to convince these landowners. The kindness, humility and history in his eyes was touching.