Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Family Behind EKATVA - Part 1

Ekatva has been such an organic journey. Each day for the past few years, a family of 7 Staff Members from Gandhi Ashram-based NGO, Manav Sadhna, have made the EKATVA pilgrimage a reality for our 16 children.  Whether supporting and managing the children's health, education, emotional ups and downs, family relations and problems, and as important, the full creative production of the EKATVA show, the Manav Sadhna Staff and EKATVA Family members have been behind each day, each interaction, each step.

Now with the tour coming to fruition, and for children who have rarely ever left their homes, without such a family there is no way that such a journey can become a reality. For this we share and celebrate the love and journey of our EKATVA leaders and children's caretakers.

SHIRISHBHAI - a Real Coordinator - born and raised in Gandhi Ashram has been working with Manav Sadhna since its inception, mid 1990’s. Currently, he is working as All Project Coordinator, performing all administrative task: handling email correspondence, updating websites,scheduling team meetings and maintaining status reports. He manages all the essentials of local and international volunteer recruitment, right from assessing Manav Sadhna’s need to enrollment of volunteers, their residency, building rapport with them and maintaining their databases.

For Ekatva tour in particular, he has been managing Logistics, booking the show venues, arranging stays and travels, understanding and running the technical elements of sound and lights for the show. He has been helping with getting the passports for the kids and staff, applying for their visas and other administrative work involved therein. He efficiently understands the kid’s and their family’s mindset and need by organizing regular meetings with them at Gandhi Ashram and quite often visiting their homes. He has become an integral part of kid’s life, enjoying the ‘small yet beautiful everyday moments’.

JAGATBHAI - The Truest Big Brother - 
is an extremely creative person who believes in creating healthy community through Art!!! Since Past 13 years, he has been dedicatedly providing value based education to slum kids by giving lessons on arts and crafts through Earn and Learn Project (www.earnlearn.org). His distinctive rangolis, creative flower decorations and ingenious stage set up enhances the beauty and elegance of each of our Ekatva performances. His aesthetically designed hand props and masks for the performers make the show visually appealing.

He has been a big brother for all the kids. Having unplanned dinners together with kids family once in a while, celebrating occasions and festivals with each other’s family, comforting the kids in their difficult moments have created synergy and inter dependence in their relationship and helped to resolve a lot of children’s problems. He has been encouraging the kids, cheering them in their journeys and enabling them to maximize their potential through regular interactions and one on one counseling sessions.


You meet her, observe her and can only marvel at what she does.
She has been overseeing the finances and serving as Chief Accountant and Financial Advisor at ManavSadhna since the beginning. Her valuable insight about foreign regulation acts, financial wisdom and management skills have helped to utilize the foreign contributions wisely. She closely monitors Ekatva’s day to day expenses and entire Ekatva tour budget. With her gratifying personality she has established beautiful interpersonal relations with local and international donors.
I had an opportunity to stay with her and know her better during the Ekatva tour for ‘Karjaat-Mumbai performances’

Her warmth is radiated in her each and every action. She understands how simple things mean so much to kids. She would wake up the kids gently, give them head massage, do their hair neatly, take care of their nutrition, talk about their family and pamper them so they don’t miss the love they get from their mom. At the same time she will frames rules for them and make sure they follow them, sees to it that they wash their clothes in spite of travelling and rehearsals, pray before they go to bed. She is quite firm and strict when they throw tantrums ;)
She is one of the 2 main back stage support who manages make-up, hair-styling, 5 Quick costume changes under 90 minutes for 8 girls. With all these chaos backstage, she will make sure that kids stay on the script and dance sequence throughout the show, carry their requisite masks and props and are fed in between with some glucose.

She will never let you miss your mom,when she is around 

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