Kala Charlu, in the purple dress, holding her grandson, is with 3 of her dedicated friends and volunteers. Kala lives in Bangaluru, India. I met her at the market square in Kingston one Sunday in the summer of 2010. We talked for 5 minutes, no more. She liked what I was doing (raising money for Calcutta Rescue) and gave me her card. "Look up my website," she said, and invited me to visit her next time I came to India. Three months later, I was in India; I emailed Kala from Delhi. "Can I come to visit?" When she picked me up at the airport, she said: “I can’t believe you are here. We only met for a few minutes and here you are.” ”When people invite me, I show up.” We had a good laugh and spent 3 wonderful days together. Kala showed me what she is doing to commemorate the life of her daughter Mitu who was killed in a car accident in her early 20’s. I showed some of her friends how to make gift bags and headbands and we were able to raise funds by selling those in Kingston.
One of Kala’s many initiatives is to help supply sanitary products to poor women; this is something that we take for granted in Canada, but without them, these young girls might quit school as soon as they get their period, or if they are working, they will skip work several days a month to save themselves from an embarrassing situation. Kala is working hard to sponsor as many needy young women as she can.
A man in Karnataka invented a machine to produce eco-friendly napkins out of banana leaves which cost about $8. for a year’s supply (and hiring women in the process). When I realized that for less than the cost of a lunch out, I can help keep a young woman in school for a whole year, I decided that I wanted to help Kala reach her goals.
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