In retrospect,the reasons behind my joining as an intern in U&I were based solely on practical grounds,which don't even figure in my head anymore.
I wanted to intern; I wanted to intern in an NGO; I wanted to intern in an NGO that was within an accessible and communicable geographical
space ; I wanted super-fun crowd ; I wanted an NGO who's policy was honesty ;I wanted flexi timings, yadayadayada...the list was never ending.
Needless to say, U&I fit my bill perfectly.
Question was,and still is:did I fit U&I's bill?
Well,I still don't know! I have never in my life seen an organisation and it's people so dynamically evolve. I have never in my life come across so much passion,
so much love,and so much energy in one place. When I joined U&I,what drove me to it may have been reasons I could list out in bullet points in my personal diary, but the change it has made in my life, and the change I know I have made in the lives of others, is far too pregnant with weight for words to contain. I first started out with teaching slum-dwelling boys from Doddigunta at the U&I office. They were noisy,were more interested in my love life than anything else,and drove me mad. They also made me see the mind - boggling amounts of potential each and every one of them was brimming with,and that drove me to want to make something out of them. Today,I work with slum-dwelling girls from Doddigunta. Predictably enough, for obvious socio-economical reasons,they are far lesser in number. It also means that they do not receive as much encouragement to study,and have far lesser incentives to intellectually and academically further their horizons,making it more of a challenge for me to teach. But you know what I see in each and every one of these girls? I see possibilities. Given where they come from,and given their little academic escapades from their squalid reality, the possibilities in their future are endless. They could either become somebodies/exceptions from what is predicted of their future,or they could be washed away to become victims of their own fate,and not conversely, its victors. Yes I am teaching them Spoken English today,and that is a sure-shot tool to uplift them,albeit a little higher,from their current state, but my main aim is to make real women out of them. Strong, independent, and empowered women. Women who will be change-makers and history makers.
Whenever I meet people working with U&I,I see the same dreams and hopes in their eyes for whichever section of people they may be working with. I sense not just their aspirations and energy, but above all else,their Hope. I also know that this isn't the passive sort of hope,but the one that strives, strives, and never yields. The one that fights the good fight. This same hope is the one that drives me,and I see that regardless of the numerous constraints all of us may have,there is always room to make a difference. There's always need for a helping hand. There's always some work that needs to get done. There's always somebody who needs to be cared for. There's always,always,room for some love,and all of us,no matter how bitter our pasts,and no matter how wounded our hearts,can give our hearts and souls to engage in some good ol' loving. The fun way of course,in true U&I style ;).