Posts Tagged ‘India’

A Wonderful Way to Begin

October 28, 2009

What a day. This was an amazing way to begin our trip in India – and we couldn’t imagine the things that were in store for us today. First let us start with probably the most important item of the day – David Hircock has safely arrived in Delhi. We had been told that he missed his train, but as it turns out we were only told that so we wouldn’t worry. In reality, his train was hijacked by gunmen last night a few stops before he got on. Obviously the hijacking caused a delay and quite a commotion here in India – it was front page news in all the newspapers and on all news networks. Are we nervous that we’re going on a train tomorrow? No, not really. David assures us that after last night’s incident, the trains are probably safer now than ever. That’s what we like to think.

As we were driving to the Mukti Ashram, the group was overcome by the sights they were seeing outside our tour bus. The poverty and the chaos are indescribable. It makes you understand why it’s so important that we help make a difference for people here. Amidst the chaos was a sight that lifted everybody’s spirits – an elephant walking down the middle of the street amid bustling traffic. Apparently elephants here are highly regarded and used in festivals and wedding ceremonies. He commanded respect not only by his size but by his significance.

Elephant in Delhi street

Elephant in Delhi street

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the day was our visit with children rescued from India’s mica mining industry. These children are now in the care of the Save the Childhood Foundation, founded by Kailash Satyarthi and his wife, at the Mukti Ashram outside Delhi.  Here they are educated, clothed, sheltered, rehabilitated and in most cases returned to their families.

Mukti Ashram entrance

Mukti Ashram entrance

The mica mining industry is notorious for child labor practices and with David Hircock’s guidance, Aveda has been working to help change industry practices so that child labor can be eliminated. We’ve been working with the Save the Childhood Foundation to support their efforts to rescue children from mining and establish “Child Friendly Villages” where they will be protected from child labor. As part of Aveda’s Earth Month campaign two years ago, our Global partner, Global Greengrants Fund, made a grant to Save the Childhood Foundation specifically to help rebuild and install clean water wells in nine Child Friendly Villages – this made our visit today even more meaningful. We expected to see children beaten down by society but instead we saw children filled with hope, strength and love. A shining example was Mohammed who just two weeks ago was rescued from a mica mine. His goal used to be to learn how to read bus numbers. Now that he has been rescued, his new goal is to become a doctor. Other children spoke about becoming judges, electricians, and working to eliminate child labor forever.

Children in Ashram Classroom

We were so proud of Rochelle who spoke to the children on behalf of our group. After arriving on her first trip overseas and away from her husband and children, she was emotionally overwhelmed by the ride to the hotel. She was the last person we expected to be able to keep a dry eye and speak to these children without breaking down.

Rochelle speaks to the children

Rochelle speaks to the children

Rochelle speaks on behalf of our entire group when she says the children’s strength inspired her and gave her hope for a better future for them and for us all. While she didn’t cry, everyone else was in tears…except the children who laughed, sang, spoke, performed for us and danced with us.

Children dancing

Children dancing

We’re extremely glad David is safe and we loved seeing the elephant, but it is the children that we will all remember most from this day.

The Aveda group at the Ashram

The Aveda group at the Ashram with Kailash Satyarthi and his charming wife.

Happy cow outside the Ashram

Happy cow outside the Ashram

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The Team Arrives

October 28, 2009

They’re here. Well, most everyone. The Winners arrived safely. Tired but with energy to get started. As with any large tour, especially one traveling to a country like India, something is bound to go not as planned. Well, David Hircock, an experienced India and world traveler already in country doing work, missed his train. Minor snafu, but it won’t stop us. Our motto-always have an alternative! So we carry on without him and look forward to seeing him tonight.

The team arrived late last night, greeted by a spritz or two of All Sensitive Toner and an Aveda reusable tote (100% recycled cotton and plastic bottles) filled with goodies, including a Clif Bar, Aveda Blue Oil (needed after a long trip) and offsets by NativeEnergy. These are really cool. All the participants CO2 emissions from flights to and from India, as well as in country travel are being offset by NativeEnergy and will support a new wind farm in Greensburg Kansas, which was destroyed by an F5 tornado. They are rebuilding green, wanting to be as they say, “the greenest town in America”. Groovy!

Back to India.  After a good night sleep we are looking forward to visitng the Mukti Asharam where we will meet children that have been rescued from slave labor in mica mines – this was arranged by David and is a good example of the type of work he supports on Aveda’s behalf.  This is the day that Kirk from San Diego is most looking forward to. So we will update you later with more details from the team. Namaste.

Weblink:  www.nativeenergy.com/greensburg