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Gratitude For Our Volunteers

Thanks to Trip Volunteers, Green Tara Project is able to physically train more women and girls.

Volunteer Name: Sajji Lazarus

Country Traveled to: India

Year(s): 2012, 2015

What I Did: Assisted in structuring of lesson plans, provided field support, assisted in teaching of self-defense to students, and designated scrambled egg maker.

What inspired me to volunteer for Green Tara Project: The opportunity to make a change, pit oneself against their own fear, and dive in without a shark cage inspires me. The girls we teach inspire me. I learn through my trips with Belle that courage does not come from having the indisputable letters 'U.S.A.' printed on my passport, but rather, it blossoms forth from rape survivors who dream of their own futures. It comes from ten-year-old 'untouchables', who smile and joke with each other even though they've already seen too much. Inspiration came and continues to come from a woman from Chicago who knew as little about speaking Hindi as she did about her own limitations. It comes from a fighter who decided to put her speed and power towards a better use than simply winning more gold medals. It comes from the women in both my countries, and the rare men who throw their lots in with them.

What was my most gratifying moment: Watching the girls realize their own strength makes every bug bite, rickshaw bump, and street harassment worth it. Around the third day of class, the girls generally become more comfortable, and start hitting and yelling with a ferocity fueled by pent-up, stifled rage. Seeing this release makes any and everything else worthwhile. Also, when I finally had the wherewithal to use the bathroom (lightless room with a hole in the ground) at a 400-year old slum while armed with a flashlight, I felt pretty proud as well.
Volunteer Name: Mary Cote

Country Traveled to: India

Year(s): 2015

What I Did: Taught self defense to special needs children and teens; assisted with training of at-risk and survivor girls; consulted on training.

What inspired me to volunteer for Green Tara Project: My three daughters.

What was my most gratifying moment: Having one of the students who has Down Syndrome spot Belle and I at the back of the room during morning prayers. She smiled, waved, and then performed the ‘cat scratch’ technique I had taught her just the day before.