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29 TH March, 2009
Call it a co incidence or fate...on my second day..Shabana and myself were chief guests at the women Empowerment Day.
The entire village assembled on this auspicious day. It was a grand function(for Village Standards).It was held at the Mijwan school.It was very moving to see all the school girls perform and give emotional speeches....on one topic.....EMPOWERMENT.The atmosphere breathed ...EMPOWERMENT !
I learned that all the girls in Mijwan ATTEND school. There is NO child in Mijwan.that does not attend school. Also , Mijwa has inspired the neighboring village girls to attend school.
Shabana Azmi gave a very moving /powerful speech....encouraging every girl to be strong and strive to be self independent and productive. She thanked HOH from the bottom of her heart. Many young girls , got up on the stage and thanked hOH. Sanjokta...the Founding Teacher of the sewing/embroidery center...thanked HOH with tears in her eyes. HOH WAS THE STAR OF THIS EVENT !
It was a very emotional moment for me. The energy truly breathed...Empowerment!
Shabana introduced me to the oldest lady...followed by the youngest child.. They all had that special unique spark in their eyes...along with an inner strenghth to excel !
All these woman had very interesting inspirational stories....and their role model was Shabana.
She is called the daughter, Bahu, Mother, Father, Savior of Mijwan.People love her in mijwan and treat her like God.The villagers call her their "sahara"...but she corrects them and calls herself their "saathi"...in this fight for justice and empowerment..Mijwan is truly the "core" of her being !
I have not seen any one work so hard. From the time she got off the train.....Shabana has been working ..non stop like a compulsive/anal maniac!.She is involved in EVERY THING...concerning this village....starting with the state of the platform where we descended from the train...to the plight of the toilets in the school.She does not eat, drink or sleep when she is in Mijwan. There are long lines of people waiting to speak to her and tell them their problems. I was amazed that she knew every ones name and background. She listens with her full attention and compassion. The farmers come with their various problems..... some one wanted a hand pump... a student needs a cycles...the list goes on ..and on. No one leaves disappointed. . the villagers . shared with me..how she has touched their lives.
I see the spark/shine in her eyes when she meets the young girls and shares their success stories.She looks like a proud mom !
These girls would have been married off..at age 14yrs...today these same girls are confident and empowered !
All I can say...HOH has found a very good match with Mijwan. Our goals are the same...upliftment and empowerment.
I spent the next day again in the society and felt a very warm bond with these girls...who were busy working on the HOH order. I felt very proud to meet 6 girls...who are now speaking English and are joining computer classes. ...and want to become successful in life .. These are true success stories...... I have interviewed them and captured their voices on my tape recorder.
I was again moved to tears when the teachers of the society gave their "dhuwa"/blessings to the entire HOH team. They blesse4d our children and grandchildren. Sanjokta was in tears when she mentioned Nalini and Vikram....and blessed their families for many many generations !
HOH desrves a big pat on on its back !I know we are very hard on our selves....but believe me...HOH has made a major difference in this tiny village....The Legacy of HOH( written in HINDI) will live on for generations.
In the evening Shabana and myself boarded her father's train back to Delhi . This is the first time I have spent so much time in Mijwan. I loved it... the peace, serenity of that place is so therapeutic.. The love of the people is truly nurturing to the soul. I left with a heavy heart...but felt very inspired when I saw every villager at the platform.... with new Hope! .... and...with the unspoken...THANK YOU HOH !