During the past six weeks at Sundara I have had so many first time experiences, but I wanted to share my top 3 with you all this week.
Last week I sat in on my first official board meeting at the Mirador Hotel. Sundara is becoming a registered Charitable Trust within India so I met the local Indian board. Everyone shared their vision for how we hope to grow and scale, while becoming financially sustainable, so that we may impact more children and create even more jobs for women in need. It was beautiful to have all the stakeholders of our program in one room and realize how much support is backing this program, rooting for its success.
Then, I was interviewed on a national radio show in India! Along with founder Erin Zaikis, I was interviewed for the Morning Breakfast show with Hrishi K on Radio One Mumbai. We spoke about our soap recycling work in Kalwa, the funny experiences you have when you’re a foreigner in Mumbai, and our positive hopes for the future generation in India.
But the ‘first’ that sticks out the most this past month was my very first soap distribution in Shilonda, a tribal village 5 hours outside of Mumbai. The planned itinerary for the day was to meet some of Sundara’s beneficiaries and educators, help physically distribute soap to over 100 children, and see how the hygiene modules are executed in-class.
Unplanned, however, was the wave of emotion that came over me as I saw these children walk to the nearby water well and stand patiently in line, waiting one-by-one for their turn at hand washing.
It is here where I saw the most undeniable, purest form of human appreciation and happiness— for something as simple as water and soap. Every single drop of water was utilized, not one drip went to waste. Every second spent under the faucet was felt, recognized, and treasured
On their faces: a deep sense of concentration, each taking time to clean every crease of not only their hands, but also their face, legs and feet.
I will never look at soap and water the same again—the children in Shilonda have ingrained in me such a deep appreciation and sense of gratitude for each of these, one I hope to pass along to everyone around me.
Curious about interning with us? Want to get in touch with Michelle and say hi? Send her an email at Michelle@sundarafund.org.
Photo credit: Emily Weinstein