Hello LitWorld Family! We are wrapping up an exciting and informative first day in Ahmedabad, India. Rafi and Prasad from our local partner organization, the Kadam Education Initiative, picked us up this morning and took us on a tour of some of the different education centers where they work. We stopped in two different communities, Bombay Hotel and Piplaj.
Bombay Hotel is made up of Muslim communities that settled there after 2002 when a large portion of Ahmedabad's Islamic population was massacred by the Hindus. It is located by the gigantic municipal garbage dump, at least 15 stories high and 4 square kilometers in area (picture below). We visited two different centers there and sang and played games with the children, many of whom will be attending the LitCamp we are running later this week. They were full of high spirits, warm and open. It speaks to the deep and heartfelt work of KEI and their teachers, known here as the Bal Dosts.
Piplaj is made up of communities that were displaced after a large riverfront beautification project commenced, sending residents of the permanent slum community there searching for a new home. They have been displaced several times before returning to Piplaj semi-permanently. All of the children at this center will be attending camp. Leah and I feel fortunate to have been able to interact with them today as it will make the first day of LitCamp so much more exciting and fun for them since they will no longer have to acclimate to strangers.
For many of the children, it will be their first time interacting with peers from a different religious group than them, but Meera and Rafi who are wife and husband, Hindu and Muslim, Brahmin and middle class, have told them that we are all a part of the religion of humanity and we must learn to see each other as one and the same. Beautiful.
We can't wait for day one of training tomorrow with the Bal Dosts and look forward to sharing more stories with you from the field!
--Yaya Yuan, LitWorld's Advocacy and US Programming Director