A Day of Service on 9/11

This is the second year that the American Embassy has honored 9/11 by sending their employees out to their host country of India and giving back for half of their work day.  Several non-profit organizations  were carefully chosen here in Delhi to help.  Not all available slots were taken with the embassy employees so as a member of the American Women’s Association, I was given the opportunity to join.

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I spent the morning of 9/11 at NAB — a non-profit organization focusing on educating and training blind women between the ages of 18-35.  An individual had granted the center money to add a second floor to their building.  The second floor was to become the new living quarters for the women who live there during their training period (anywhere from 3-12 months).  As volunteers, our assignment was to help move bedding, personal belongings, etc. upstairs to the new floor.  There are about 25 women that live there and it is an interim stay for them.  They learn vocational training, computer training using speech software, receive help to fill out college applications to further their education, learn basic grooming and communication skills as well a life skills such as using a walking stick, how to cook, etc.

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Once we had curtains hung, floors swept and beds arranged, we would be assigned a girl and we would carry her belongings up to her new bedroom.  The bedrooms sleep about 8 girls each — 4 bunkbeds in each room.  Underneath each bunkbed there were 2 large drawers — one for each girl. It was in that drawer, that we helped the girls organize their very meager belongings — about 2 or 3 outfits, a small bag of toiletries, a purse and some papers.

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This is one of the girls that I helped move her belongings.

Although we could not communicate well with the women since they spoke no English, they were so appreciative.  At the end of our time there they sang us a song in Hindi about being a good person and choosing a good path in life.  It was extremely touching to be able to be a part of such a great event.

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This is the group of girls singing to us at the end.

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3 thoughts on “A Day of Service on 9/11

  1. Marcene Kylander

    I can’t believe the fun I am having reading your blog! You are an amazing writer! What a neat learning experience!
    Miss you!
    Marci

    Reply
  2. Courtney Johnson

    Karen, I think it’s wonderful that admist all the craziness of your transition to your new life, that you’re volunteering. Service is usually linked to happiness. You’re a great example!
    Love,
    Courtney

    Reply
  3. lanainsweden

    Being in these countries you have the opportunities to help in seemingly small but huge ways. I felt I contributed a lot more when we lived in Greece. Here in Sweden the government takes care of everyone. In Relief Society, for example, the President has never had to grocery shop for anyone since her calling began 2 years ago. It’s nice everyone is cared for, but in some ways I miss the opportunity to give and help. Of course we do it in other ways. We’re sending coats and food and clothing to Bosnia for Christmas, etc…and that feels really good too. But rarely do you meet the people you help. Thanks for sharing this experience!

    Reply

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