Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Highlights from GLOBASE India 2013

By Erin Faulk, First year, Marketing

Teaching our lesson to 8-10 year olds
Day 1: Today we are headed up north to Sidhbari in Himachal Pradesh. Our client, Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) is located in the Khangra District of Himachal Pradesh.

We are all excited to meet the staff at CORD who we have been working with over the past 7 weeks. Between language challenges and Skype inconsistencies due to spotty internet connections, it will be great to continue the progress on our projects in person. My team has developed an entire career exploration and self-discovery program that involves changing many of the cultural norms in these communities, so we need to make sure we are aligned with our team leaders at CORD before going into the field. 

Day 3 : Now that I have mastered the art of bucket showers and feel completely at home while dressed in my salwar kameez. Our projects are in full-force and the clock is ticking to get everything accomplished on our field plan.

Each day has presented new obstacles that my team was not prepared for...and today was no different! First, we visited a local secondary school to test activities from our career exploration program. We had prepped a lesson for high schoolers, but when we walked in, there were thirty 8-10 year olds eagerly waiting for us. We were forced to adapt our entire lesson on the fly!

Day 5: 
Today is our last day at Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD), and it is difficult to put my emotions into words. After working so hard to get to know the staff and mission of CORD over the past seven weeks  it feels like we have made ourselves a new home in Sidhbari. We haven't even packed yet, but you can sense the group missing CORD already.

Closing ceremonies with Dr. Didi

It was awesome to see the progress each team made while in country. All presentations engaged the community and pushed CORD in different ways; to create an accelerated marketing plan to stabilize funding and fuel expansion of their footprint, to invest in a vermicompost training center to increase the sustainability of farming as a reliable trade in rural India, or to lead the initiative for changing the community's understanding of choosing a career based on personal values and skills.

Dr. Didi closed out the ceremony with inspiring words. She called on local field workers to share what they had learned from us, expressed the strength and significance of the relationship between Kelley and CORD over the past three years, and pressured us to harness our power to create opportunities and make impact in our futures. She then passed out small gifts made by the women in the Mahila Mandal groups. Dr. Didi hugged every single one of us, calling us by name and personally thanked us for our work. What an amazing, rewarding experience!

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