09 April, 2010

Shanti Sewa Ashram

After attending the Sufi and Yogic Traditions seminar we went to visit CM Ashram (Shanti Sewa Ashram). The Ashram could be described as a sort of community center. They have rooms for teaching poor women candle making skills as well as making pickles and teaching them how to sew; important skills to make them more self sufficient and bring in much needed funds to the family. The Ashram also takes care of children before and after school (feeds them and helps them with their homework. These children are again the poor of the poor and without the Ashram’s help and encouragement, many would probably drop out of school.

The Ashram was putting on a Parents Show and the camp students were invited, along with the parents, to watch.

My translator

I met a woman who is now in Class 2 (about 2nd grade) and she's a grown woman. She encouraged her children to always go to school and scraped together the money every year to send them. One day she heard about a program that Dr. Yogi puts on in his Ashram (Ashram means 'community' but is usually a large building or many small buildings used for a school, community center, prayer place, etc for those poor in the village/town. They do not judge or race, caste or religion). Dr. Yogi's ashram had started adult literacy classes and this woman started taking them. It was very strange to me to see a woman who struggles to write her name, and the alphabet, such basic principles that we teach our preschoolers.

Anyway, this woman's son had dropped out of school (because it was 'too hard') but once he saw his mother going to school and studying late in the evening after all the children were in bed and the chores done, he once again went back to school and he is not in college. That's where I believe if I (or anyone) changes just one life, then that make all the difference in the world. Kind of like the snowball effect.

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