Exactly twenty years ago, in November 1998, I made my first trip with Selvam to his rural area of Andimadam, to visit the programs that he and his fledgling organization READ (Rural Education and Action Development) had started.. I was already in Chennai for an AIDS conference, and so had planned to travel with Selvam by train to spend 3 days in his village. Although three days is only short, it are probably 3 days that totally changed my life. I visited the 2 schools that Selvam had started, 5 women self-help groups, and the vocational training unit. Selvam explained me that most of this was possible thanks to the proceeds of the embroidered greeting cards that our network of friends and relatives were selling.
As these rural areas have so much poverty and misery, that is often very difficult to deal with, these programs of READ felt like an oasis. So it’s truly an emotional rollercoaster. At the end of the trip, I discussed with Selvam, and decided that I need to continue this journey…..and this led to the start of Sahaya International.
Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different, and the lives of so many others, if I had not decided to take it to the next level….
What if….or what if not…