[S02E19] This is the second part of our podcast interview with Govind Rathore who set up and runs the Sambhali Trust, a non-profit, grass-roots charitable organisation based in Jodhpur, the Blue City of Rajasthan. In this episode we continue to chat with Govind on the rooftop of his homestay, Durag Niwas, and we take in two of the empowerment centres that help women who come from troubled backgrounds.
[S02E18] A couple of kilometres outside the centre of Jodhpur, Govind Rathore and his family run the Durag Niwas homestay, but that’s not their main interest. In 2007 Govind set up the Sambhali Trust, an NGO that helps women from the lowest castes in India escape their lives of hardship and empowers them with the skills necessary to operate their own businesses. Many of these women only speak a local dialect and don’t understand Hindi, so they learn to read, write and speak Hindi and English. They are also taught sewing and farming skills. The work Govind and the Trust is doing is so important, having helped over 600 women in its five year existance, that we are dedicating two podcast episodes to our time with the Sambhali Trust.
The entire school was eager to meet us, so we made a point of visiting each of the tiny, cold classrooms. With saucer-eyes, they drank in everything we said. We played games, swapped stories, listened to them sing and watched long and intricate dances.
“We teach them about their appearance, good dress sense. Most don’t know where Jodhpur is, or even that they live in Rajasthan. Their lives are simply this: get up, brew tea for Dad, do the dishes, clean the house, cook lunch, sleep, clean the household, make dinner, go to bed. Every single day of their lives. They have no weekends, no holidays. They are married at 15, and then have the exact same life with a husband who probably rapes and certainly beats them.” This is the account of one man’s mission to ’empower’ disadvantaged women from Rajasthan, in a superb write-up by Liz that is packed with first-hand accounts, facts, sad stories and, ultimately, the positive action of the Sambhali Trust.
The second part of our Newport Primary School feature, where we answer the questions put to us by Mrs Savill’s class. Also in this post is the video clip we showed the children of Newport Primary, to help give them an idea of life in the Himalayan foothills.
We take a break from our travelling and return to Newport Primary School, more specifically Class 5 who we visited last week. We showed video clips of our time in the Himalayas and we talked about life on the sea. We were there to start a cultural exchange programme between the students of Newport and the students at Magno Vale Academy, a school set up by the MondoChallenge Foundation. The project is being coordinated by Class 5’s teacher Jude Savill, MondoChallenge representative Amy Pettipher, and ourselves. More on MondoChallenge later, in the meantime we just had to print and reply to these wonderful letters. Here are the first three:
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