Please check out my latest video filmed in Italy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqEqUnXlDug
In case you were wondering, the wonderful song used in this video is called "All Good Reasons" by Barefoot Truth. Visit their website to listen to their whole album, they have many other inspiring songs: http://barefoottruth.com/?s=media&act=listen&album=Threads
First and foremost, for more information on how you can participate in a program like this as a volunteer or donate please visit the link pasted below. There will be three upcoming trips in March, April and late June so you can start signing up now!
This is my first video of my trip to India this winter vacation highlighting my volunteer experience as part of this remarkable grassroots organization called the Association of Relief Volunteers (ARV). A group of 11 of us went to a small rural village (info below) to help build houses for a community of people known as Dalits. Although the Indian government has formally abolished the social caste system, Dalits, formerly known as "Untouchables," still suffer from discrimination. Dalits are denied well-paying jobs, decent housing, and government aid.
Now I know that building houses is not everyone's idea of a good vacation or good time, but I really had an amazing time and would recommend this program to anyone. You can actually see where the help is going. To reiterate what the group leader of our volunteers said, “The villagers benefited by meeting people from outside their world, getting to speak English and exchange ideas. But the benefits were definitely mutual: We got to learn about them, too, their lives, goals and interests. ” It was a humbling experience getting to spend a week working, speaking, laughing and playing with these wonderful people. This has definitely been one of the best trips I have taken so far.
Thank you to all those who donated to our trip! We would have never been able to get the necessary material to build these houses if it was not for all of you. So thank, thank, thank, thank you!
Chevuru Village Background
A total of 459 Dalits (formerly known as Untouchables), including 70 widows, live in thatched mud huts in Chevuru. Most of the adults in the village are unskilled agricultural laborers and are unable to find work outside the 3-month growing season each year. Because they earn barely enough wages to support their families, missing even one day of work to repair their fragile huts after heavy rain or floods can affect their ability to feed their children. Acquiring permanent housing will not only allow these Dalit villagers to work more days of the year but will also raise their social status, giving them the confidence they need in order to stand up for their rights.