One Decade of Friendship
10 years ago I was invited to India for the first time. When I accepted the invitation, I had no idea that I was stepping into a whole new phase of my life, and that in 10 years time I would be part of a Kerala-based team, a team that is leading workshops for students in small villages, running our own Academy, operating our own hostel for boys who had dropped out of school, and about to open a second hostel for girls.
On that first trip in 2007, I led Communicative English workshops for Dalit students on a youth retreat. I was invited back the next year by my students, and so our project evolved. I established Jai Bhim International as a non-profit in the U.S., and we started connecting with supporters to fund our small educational projects. In December 2009, our team in Kerala offered the first of what would become our own annual 6-Day Communicative English camp. In 2010, our team started offering pop-up workshops in villages across Kerala throughout the year. In 2014, we launched Lokuttara Leadership Academy, our own alternative learning community. In 2015, we built and opened our boys' hostel. And now, in 2017...Blossom Project!
Since the beginning of our collaborations in Kerala, we had a vision of educating girls and boys together, giving girls the opportunity to express themselves with confidence, giving boys an opportunity to listen to and respect females as equal, and giving everyone an opportunity to collaborate and encourage the best in one another. There are a lot of obstacles to educating and empowering young women in India. There is a lot of heartbreak. And there is also a lot of joy. With Blossom Project our girl students will have a chance to live at our Academy full-time in community, and to be encouraged and supported as they develop their talents. They will be living cooperatively, meditating together, doing chores, and learning. And we expect to learn from them! With Blossom Project, we can truly say that our program is inclusive and preparing the next generation of global change-makers.
My heart is so full when I think of the community that has brought us to this point. Our Director in Kerala, Arun, who had a vision for a new kind of project in Kerala, and our resourceful and devoted team, doing everything from going door to door to meet new families, to cooking giant pots of food over coconut husk fires, to keeping accurate records of all of our program offerings. There are our eager and motivated students, their younger sisters and brothers who tag along, their proud parents witnessing their youngsters' transformations, and their neighbors who get inspired by our harmonious cooperation. There are my parents, my first teachers and the first and most loyal supporters of our projects in India, as well as their circle of friends who believed in me as a teenager and were our early investors. There are other loving members of my family, dear friends, sangha members near and far, colleagues, supporters, visionaries from the non-profit world, and local SF entrepreneurs, who have all generously invested in our projects, mentored us, and believed in us. All have stood with us as we dreamed. They are the wind under our wings.
We are delighted to welcome you to the Blossom Community. Follow our story here. And please stay in touch with us and tell us what inspires you about Blossom Project.
Thank you for believing in our students!
with gratitude, Dayamudra, Co-Founder and Mentor of Blossom Projects