I’m Swathi and I turned 21 a few months ago. I always loved to say that I stood for gender equality in my past, but now recently I have realized that I also stand for courage, love, and self-compassion. I’ve been living in Germany since I came here as a volunteer last year in September 2022. It has been nearly one and a half years since I left my home, my parents, my friends, and my country. I’m volunteering here in Germany as a kindergarten teacher in an integrated kindergarten. Here, it is winter with cold and lovely snow.
“YOU CAN’T MAKE IT” (stop trying, get married to someone, and have a baby).
To the people who told me that I’m telling you this to you proudly, “I MADE IT” I was a young girl from a rural background in a small village in Puducherry who was never allowed to go anywhere. I faced so many challenges in my life. Now, I am a 21-year-old girl here in Germany, and writing this.
“ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER MADE A MISTAKE HAS NEVER TRIED ANYTHING NEW “. – Albert Einstein
All the quotes like this one make sense to me now. When I came here, I realized that I was in a strange land where I was expected to do everything by myself. I had so much culture shock that I can’t even count now. I’m making mistakes, learning, and growing stronger each and every day. I have even visited four other countries. My experience in Germany is like a rollercoaster. New people, country, culture, and language.
Supervising Indian evenings, presenting and speaking about topics like climate change in India, learning about culture in many seminars, attending seminars about health care, clean energy in India, climate refugees, and so on. These are some tasks that I usually do.
Of course, the Thamarai education project has been my stepping stone in life. 5 years ago I went to Thamarai as a student to learn about computers. Slowly, I moved from a student to a volunteer, then I started working as a facilitator. My relatives weren’t very comfortable with me going to Thamarai at first since the village it is in has a different caste and religion than my family. I’m proud of myself that I have never been influenced by those things. Also, I changed my parents’ beliefs towards the caste system.
I’m looking forward to the future and feeling grateful for the past.