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|From Intention to Action - Page 4|
I ended up taking a dozen friends, students, and professionals with me, all of whom would raise money for scholarships and act as witnesses for those who contributed, taking back with them the stories of the girls we were supporting. At this point, I had no clear agenda in mind, except that I wanted others to see what I'd seen, hoping they'd be as strongly affected as I'd been.
When our group got to Nepal, we recognized that we were tampering with the social hierarchy of a culture that had been developing for thousands of years. We knew we had to proceed cautiously and be especially aware of the family and community dynamics surrounding the girls we were trying to help. We conceived the idea of developing rituals to perform in the village to honor the girls who were selected by the teachers as most deserving, and their families. The public ceremony to acknowledge the girls' value would be a form of intervention that might prevent their progress from being sabotaged from inside and outside their families. It wouldn't do much good to support the girls' education if others in the village didn't want this project to succeed.
During this first trip, and a half-dozen that followed with more than a hundred other therapists, students, and health professionals, we devised a plan in which we'd divide into small teams, each assigned to do home visits for each of the scholarship girls. Spreading out around the region, we'd walk an hour or longer to each home and then conduct our intervention in front of the extended family members and neighbors. Typically this involved drinking milk tea and eating an egg, after which one of us would give a speech: "We are here to honor your daughter. We have come very far to be here with you because we believe it's so important that your girls have an opportunity for an education."