It has been almost two months since I returned from India. It is now that memories begin to sort themselves into important and not-so-important. My experience at Ishwari Women's Centre was one of the 'important' ones. It was there that I saw first hand the power one person has to influence people and create positive change.
Ishwari is a place of peaceful industry. Women from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the opportunity to learn domestic skills such as embroidery, sewing, card-making, cooking and home remedies. They can then use these skills to earn an income. But there is more to it than that- these women are cared for, respected and recover a sense of purpose and self-empowerment- more than money can buy. Ishwari also has two buildings that serve as homes for orphaned children.
Arriving at Ishwari, after travelling over long bumpy and dusty rural roads, I felt as though I was entering a sanctuary. The houses are surrounded by humble but meandering gardens, filled with all sorts of fruit, vegetables and herbs. They had a cow, rabbits and ducks. It was almost completely self-sustaining. And it was quiet.
All this is presided over by the quiet yet strong Sister Rosaria (pictured). We were there as Girl Guides to make a difference to the lives of the girls but in the end I think we came out the most changed.
It was the experience of her generosity and quiet determination to help improve the lives of others that made the deepest impression on me.