Blog: Recent alum shares stories of service from India
July 13, 2009
Just a week after her graduation this spring, Katie Walter B.A. ’09, traveled to Delhi, India to begin a summer of service. Walter, an international affairs major, won a prestigious grant from the 100 Projects for Peace initiative to support her creation of an artisan collective in Vrindavan, India. Widows make up nearly a quarter of Vrindavan’s population. Powerless and impoverished, these vulnerable residents often have no viable means of supporting themselves.
Walter is working in Vrindavan and Delhi with organizations and nonprofits she met during previous travels to India to establish Vrindavan ka Gaurav (VKG), an artisans’ collective that will produce and market traditional needlepoint crafts. She hopes that creating a source of income for Vrindavan’s widows and destitute women will lead to the stability and dignity needed to create an overall environment of peace.
As she navigates the process, Walter shares her experiences on her blog, Crafting Peace. In a recent entry she describes explaining her project’s mission to someone she met in Delhi:
“When I told Prakhar that I was here to start an artisans’ collective in Vrindavan, he was amazed. He wondered out loud as to why someone who enjoys all of the comforts of the first world would intentionally endure the hardships of a place like Vrindavan just to help a few people. I told him that first of all, the people DO desperately need help and one must do one’s best to provide that help. Next, I told him how rewarding it is to see one’s efforts to help become successful. Then I told him that one cannot know what life is about if one does not see how others live. Finally, I told him that endeavors such as my current one engender humility and gratitude, something that people can lose completely if they are constantly sheltered from the hardships of others. Prakhar was bemused.”