We had the opportunity to visit a school for abandoned street children. The school had 25-30 kids. The children were brought in from various parts of Jaipur. They had backgrounds ranging from beggars, sex-slaves, and thieves. Most were found at train stations. Unfortunately, most of them had contracted Aids or a sexually transmitted disease. The school taught the children. As well, they learned trade skills such as artistic work, sewing and creating handbags, and sculpting. Social skills were emphasized. Extremely important, was the therapeutic endeavors to establish a healthy life style for the future. Many of the kids advance to further education in the Indian system. Others, when of age, go on to work for their families. However, the establishment is only able to house them for short periods of time before they are sent to other non-profit organizations. Efforts are made to reconnect the kids with their real families. Great work is being done on the behalf of homeless and abused children in Jaipur. Our donations went to the contribution of food, vaccinations, medicine, and learning supplies. It was a privilege to have spent time with them and hopefully provided a little happiness in the life of a few beautiful Indian children.
Many faiths are practiced here. Seventy percent are Hindu, twenty percent Muslim, and ten percent are minority. Religion is extremely rooted in Indian culture. Indians are brought up in an environment that allows every individual to establish their own faith and value. It would be easy to say that religion in India is completely open for interpretation. However, which faith to choose? This is completely open to the imagination. Temples representing all the beliefs are scattered throughout the landscape. It would be difficult for one to travel very far without passing a temple or religious icon. Followers appear to be very passionate in their personal belief. I wonder what it would be like to grow up in a place where religion was not demanded or forced upon a person; instead without constant pressure, at one’s leisure, to discover true meaning.
Speaking with my Indian guide, we discussed his personal life. I inquired as to his romantic life; did he have a significant other. He proceeded to explain that his parents are searching for him a wife. Arranged marriages are still very much part of the current culture. As well, the tiers of the “Caste” system delineate most aspects of life. A category known as the “untouchables”, exist in Indian society. I was extremely disappointed to discover that massive groups