I am currently living at the Bal Ashram in Jaipur, Rajasthan. I am a 100 Million U.S. Campaign intern and the foundation that that campaign is a part of runs this Ashram, which is a long-term rehabilitation center for boys rescued from child labor & trafficking. I’ve been living here for a week, teaching children about emotional well-being and doing one-on-one sessions with other boys who have learning disabilities. I only have one more week to go 😦
I realized that I’ve become rather possessive of these boys. I just want to squeeze all of them into my pocket and take them away with me. At the same time, I feel like I haven’t been doing enough for them. I don’t know any of the legal matters or policies regarding child labor. I am not a licensed therapist. I am also not a certified teacher. I don’t know who I am and what I can offer these children other than just my presence. And I don’t know if my presence is enough.
I want to be able to fix their lives and take them back to a stable household. I want to be able to fight for their rights in court. I want to help them psychologically. I feel like I am running out of time, but I know that’s false. However, it’s hard to continuously fight against your own thoughts.
One of the volunteers I met here, Julia (aka my next coffee date), told me that when working with children like these, we just have to keep reminding ourselves that we are enough, we are doing enough, and our work does have meaning.
I want to take it easy in 2023 and not put a timeline on my passions; I want to let my passions guide me, instead of the societal construct of a certain timeline. I don’t want to compare my passions and work with other people who may have similar interests. Everyone works at their own pace and in their own way. I want 2023 to be the year where I pursue my passions and relentlessly stand up for myself and the causes that I support.