||TAMARA KAFTALOVICH, Guest Blogger
Our third distribution was in a town called Harugari, approximately three hours from Belgaum, where we distributed 150 bedkits. We had such a great time at that site — we’d high-five the kids as they ran across the room to change into their new clothes. It was also the only distribution where all the parents and kids stayed until the very last bedkit was handed out to thank us and say goodbye.
Tamara with Veena Benti at the SCAW distribution site in Harugari, India.
There was one girl in particular that stuck out in my mind that day. Her name is Veena Benti. She’s 22 years old and originally from the town of Harugari, but is now going to college in Bangalore, working toward a degree in business administration.
Veena comes from a privileged family. Although she grew up in a very small town, her father was a prominent politician. Veena’s father has since passed away, but her mother still lives in this town. She also has two sisters who are married and live elsewhere.
More often than not, the children receiving a bedkit do not go off to college. Instead, at the age of 16 or 17 they graduate from public school, which is paid for by the government (the families only need to provide school supplies), and they go to work to help support their families.
Veena’s former principal invited her to attend our distribution at a local school so she could witness first-hand what it was like to execute an event like this and learn more about what we do, so she could apply it to her studies and later, her work. Once she graduates, she wants to work abroad and receive hands-on experience in social work so she can later use that experience toward helping the needy people in her home community of Harugari.
Her optimism, selflessness and kind-hearted nature are what I remember most about her. She’s appreciative of where she came from — her family, her people, her home — and despite her privileged upbringing and getting the opportunity to study and work abroad, she is still choosing to eventually return home to help her community.
At the end of the visit, and before we said goodbye, she took off one of her rings to give to me as a sign of friendship. I was so honoured. I gave her one of my bracelets in return. I look forward to keeping in touch with her and learning about all the wonderful things she does in this world.
Date Added: February 19, 2011 | Comments (0)
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