India – A Feast for the Eyes

Elephant in Traffic

Glances out the window reveal life in action. A bare-foot and bare-bottomed boy running down an alleyway using a stick to control a rolling bicycle tire. An old man wrapped in many layers of clothing to ward off the morning cold, lighting his morning cigarette. A young girl, maybe 10, carrying a toddler along the sidewalk on her hip. Begging. Filthy. Her hair matted with dirt. But somehow pretty all the same.

An elephant, painted for some occasion-or maybe just for an everyday show. A platform strapped to his/her back with a single large rope. Moving through traffic, horns blaring on all sides, the sound of bells clanging as the huge beast rocks back and forth on a stiff march through the centre of the city. What is the look in his or her eye?

A groom riding a white horse as part of a noisy procession. Making his way to his wedding. Not a young man. Women, girls, young men colorfully dressed. All dancing along throwing some sort of powder in the air as they followed a small vehicle playing music over a loudspeaker.

A man working in a building 6 ft square – a barber shop. A look of pride and recognition as we make our way past his shop for the second time today. We see him and he sees us as he flicks a sheet around the shoulders of his next customer.

A woman on the back of a motorcycle. Dressed elegantly and colorfully. Barely hanging on, just balancing – years of experience. She has her head buried behind the drivers back, looking down at her cell phone -texting someone. Oblivious to us or the cows her driver is snaking through on the tiny village road.

India is a study of beauty. And that beauty is found right next to or between the filth. Focus on the stench, the garbage everywhere, the cacophony of noisy car horns blaring and you will have great distaste. But make eye contact with people, see their beauty, see the smiles, see through the dirty exterior and you will find the beauty of the human condition. And then it is gone.

India is a feast for the eyes and paying attention is the only requirement.

Unleashing the Hope within Rajasthan’s Local Youth

Unleashing the Hope within Rajasthan's Local Youth

Children scare me. Why and when this fear developed, I’m not 100% sure. I do find them cute, and I do care about kids, but the thought of the responsibility to raise a child tends to bring out the fear in me. Therefore, I typically avoid situations that involve being around kids when I can.

So when I learned that we were going to attend a youth center in India after a long and exhausting day of lifting bricks, the last ounce of my comfort zone was drained from me. [Read more…]

When a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity Happens Twice

When a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity Happens Twice

I’ve know from a very young age the importance of helping others and making an impact in their lives.  I remember when I was 10 years old, listening to my best friend’s father share his stories of those he had volunteered his time to support in rural Africa – and of those who still needed the help more than ever. I sat in amazement, listening and realizing that one day, I too wanted to visit and help.  It became a life long dream I never knew how I would make a reality until 2013 when I was lucky enough to be on the SC Cares Board that went to Maai Mahiu, Kenya. [Read more…]

SC Cares International Project 2015: Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural India!

TJatan Logohe countdown is on as the Softchoice Cares Board anticipates its departure to Rajasthan, India on February 6th for its next International Project! Softchoice’s employees and our partners support and donate time and money to local causes across North America throughout the year. To spread the orange even further, Softchoice Cares also chooses one organization to help bridge the digital divide across international borders every 18 months.

Improving education and training through technology!

Jatan PicThis year, our 12-person team will support Jatan Sansthan – a local, grassroots, not-for-profit organization that supports the rural villages of Rajasthan Province, India. Jatan’s vision is to have an equal, empowered society in India – and provides programs that give equal access to health care, advocacy and technology, with an emphasis on ensuring women and children have fair opportunities for education.

How is Softchoice supporting Jatan?

Jatan runs Education and Youth Resource Centers in the remote rural villages of Rajsamand districts of Rajasthan. Softchoice Cares is supporting the organization’s continued success by:

  • Providing computer resources and access to technology for over 240 students visiting Jatan’s Centers.
  • Supplying computers, educational software, and a strong network backbone to provide internet access.
  • Working together to help build the first of the organization’s three new facilities in a nearby village. (Jatan has already started on the foundation for the building – check out the pics below!)

The new technology set-up will improve Jatan’s ability to continue its success of achieving their vision and improving literacy rates amongst community children, and generating awareness towards education. In addition, approximately 10% of students will receive the improved vocational training required to obtain employment – something they may not have had the opportunity to do!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Jatan and help unleash potential by providing people with access to technology and edcuation in rural India!

You can stay updated on our progress in India by checking back on the CSR blog and Liking our SC Cares Facebook page for daily updates!

In the meantime, to learn more about Jatan’s programs, please visit the charity’s website.

Softchoice Cares: Reflections (Part 4)

Softchoice Cares: Reflections (Part 4)

The following is the final post in a series that has run throughout March. [Read more…]

Softchoice Cares: Reflections (Part 3)

The following is the third post in a series of four running every Thursday throughout March. Read the previous posts by clicking here: Part 1 and Part 2.  

Softchoice’s corporate giving program, Softchoice Cares, is led by an all employee board. [Read more…]