Today's program on September 26th was held in Shivapuruva, an area we often hold programs. However today we were working with a new slum community in the area. It is a particularly dirty and disorderly community even for slum communities, and unusually today we are confronted by addicts and a drunkard during our program. Those in this particular community have migrated to Varanasi from Calcutta, West Bengal. To survive, the residents collect garbage from the streets, do cleaning or pull rickshaws. Many of the children present live on the streets or are forced to work rather than attend school.
By Jayendra Das Brahmachari
On September 26th I took part in the Just One Hunger Initiative’s program in Shivapuruva run with ASMITA. My experience of this program was very different from the others I have already attended in Varanasi with ASMITA. Firstly there was the location itself. We went into the “village” through the entrance of a public school. I would never have known the village existed if we were not taken there.
At first I wondered where the food would be served as it seemed there was no clear space in the village. There seemed to only be one yard where everything was sitting and everything was happening, and this clearly seemed to be an inappropriate place. But in India everything is possible. On asking I was shown to the small space that would be used to serve the children. Looking around I also saw how very tiny the nearby kitchen space was, but in this tiny space there were more than10 people, including children, who were preparing the food. Most were making chapattis.
During August and September the Just One Hunger Initiative had the opportunity to offer food to spiritual seekers at the 2015 Kumbh Mela, one of the biggest spiritual gatherings on the planet. This year’s Kumbh Mela was at Nasik, near Mumbai, and each day hundreds of thousands of people took part in this special occasion. The common focus for those attending was their spiritual practice and immersion in God. Just One was honored to provide nourishment for their bodies during their spiritual journey.
In India and in Varanasi, September 8th is known as Girl Child Day. This day is a celebration of the importance and the contribution of girls and women in Indian society. This recognition holds special significance given the traditionally male dominated nature of society in India.
Each year Just One sponsors a feeding program in conjunction with the education program offered by our partner ASMITA. The programs are held in a large park in SIgra, near the ASMITA offices. ASMITA brings representatives from many of their slum areas to participate in the programs, using the day both as a way to recognize the girls and for the girls themselves to create a show and show their skills.
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