By Mary Esten Brown
It was only Day 2 of our trip and we were already having one of the most influential experiences of our lives. The livelihood group got the extreme privilege of going to see the SEWA organization. SEWA is a women’s education center with a beautiful purpose – to give the women of India the chance to be independent, and help regain control over what they rightly deserve, education, and the equal opportunity to make a living for themselves and their families.
Walking up the stairs, we were greeted by singing and all of the women throwing marigold petals at us. “Namaste, welcome! Welcome!” They placed a dot of Tilak (a red powder) on our foreheads. We were given the opportunity to hear their stories and listen to their struggles first hand. Understanding how these women go about their day-to-day lives only enhances the learning experience further. They told us about their parents, and what they did for work. We played games, drank chai, and learned some important Hindi vocabulary.
This organization had a contagious attitude of positivity and resilience. The strength in which these incredible women face their problems everyday just to fight for their education is something absolutely incredible. I admire their tenacious attitude to better their lives. These women are taking the initiative to earn an education in which they rightly deserve. SEWA does so much for these women; it really changed my perspective. Living in America, education is something we don’t have to wonder if we receive. Education is something guaranteed, but for these women, it’s a privilege in which they have to fight for. This visit made me understand how important it is to value the little things in life, to value the things which seem so normal and expected, to be eternally grateful for what you have, and learn to never take it for granted.