International Project 2016: People Are Amazing

Dhanyavaad, bhaarat ke Indiya. (“Thank you, people of India”)

In the weeks since I’ve returned home from the Softchoice Cares International Project in Rajasthan, India, I’ve come to realize that people are truly amazing. [Read more…]

Softchoice Cares in India: Follow their Journey

From Oct. 8-22, 2016, the Softchoice Cares board is volunteering in Rajasthan, India with Jatan Sansthan. The team will be working to update two computer labs that Softchoice Cares built last year, and train locals from the community, particularly kids, on how to use them – among many adventures. Check this blog post for regular updates on their daily experiences, and follow their journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. [Read more…]

Excitement builds as Softchoice Cares prepares for Rajasthan, India

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Softchoice Cares has carried out a number of international projects over its 10-year history, including ones in Sri Lanka, Bali, Kenya, Rwanda, and most recently, India. [Read more…]

Softchoice Cares returning to Rajasthan, India in October

For over 10 years, Softchoice Cares has worked to ‘bridge the digital divide’ in communities across North America and places around the world. We believe that access to technology opens up a world of possibilities for disadvantaged families – particularly children – to learn and develop new skills, and break the cycle of poverty. [Read more…]

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

“Break the Silence.” “Stop Violence Towards Women.” “Rape is Wrong.” Just a few of the slogans the Softchoice Cares team were asked to paint across the walls of Poprada Village homes.

Theese are messages that Jatan is working to bring to all of the villages in the Rajasthan District as part of its larger initiative to ensure change in the status of women in their society. And as we walked through the door to the women’s Gender Panchayat Resource Center meeting, we hear Jatan’s Yashodhara Bai and Manju Dwi passionately speak with the women in their local dialect.  Her message is clear:  there’s an election coming up and it’s imperative that every woman votes to ensure she has her say in what goes on in her local community.

[Read more…]

India: Finding Harmony Within the Noise

India: Finding Harmony Within the Noise

The end of the first work week got off to a rough start for me. The spicy and exotic Indian food that was so great the first few days was now losing its charm. The constant honking and swerving to get to the work site did not make for a pleasant morning. Even the worksite business of schlepping stones, mixing and pouring concrete, which at first, a refreshing break from the daily grind of life in NYC, was now just painful.

But after we took a break at the Jatan office and got some good news about the internet upgrade needed for the project, we loaded up the cars to head to the worksite and my outlook started to change. Our driver, who had come off as shy the first few days, put in a CD of some amazing Indian dance tracks and cranked up the volume. As we cleared the town, a beautiful song came on with a man singing over what sounded like an acoustic guitar and everything seemed to fall into place. The goats, cows, water buffalo, sheep, camels, pigs and wild dogs that roam freely in the streets all seemed to be right where they belonged and the honking seemed to provide a nice back beat to the soundtrack. We all felt a renewed energy as we headed back to the worksite.

After an afternoon spent knocking out the last of the foundation and the pillars, our hosts took us out to a village near his home where we loaded onto some cow-drawn wagons and journeyed through some fields to an amazing thousand year old, lake-side temple. The beauty and tranquility at the temple seemed so much more intense after experiencing the entire week’s sensory overload. To end the day, the cofounder of Jatan invited the team to his home. We drank some some tea and learned about life in the upper cast and what inspired him to give back and have more meaning in his life.

However, the tranquility of the afternoon quickly wore off again on the crazy drive back to the hotel. As we flew down a “two lane road” that would be best described in North America as a poorly maintained bike path. Out of nowhere, a turn signal came out of the dark. I assumed this to be someone merging into the road, and what I thought would force our vehicle into a ditch. After no panicking from our driver, I quickly realized the signal wasn’t what he was attempting to do but was simply communicating to our driver to go around him. It suddenly became clear to me, the incessant honking I’ve come to know quite well in India isn’t drivers getting angry and telling people to get out of their way, but just letting each other know where they are so they can safely avoid them.

I still don’t think I will really ever understand the chaos in India. However, I certainly went to bed with a new appreciation and perspective on finding the moments of harmony in the daily madness of life here.