March 30, 2013
Having just left India this year I want to especially thank our home team/staff, and all of our supporters and donors for helping make this extraordinary chapter of work through TSP a reality for many more girls, women, children and families. The Storydancer Project is truly becoming an “international artistic health resource.” We have had so many successes this year, including the palliative Home Care Team work with CanSupport, the first Master Trainer Training with the Hope Project, as well as the Day of Fun and Wellness and the Dance Peace Concert with World Buddhist Culture Trust.
There is one program I haven’t had the time to share with you yet. We are so pleased to be in partnership for the second year in a row with New Light, a non-profit providing shelter, educational opportunities, healthcare, recreational facilities and legal aid to children, girls and women in the community of Kalighat, one of the oldest red light districts in Kolkata. I met Urmi Basu in Kolkata several years ago. She is the director of New Light and is featured in the new award-winning PBS series, Half The Sky. In partnership with New Light, we implemented a pilot program with the children of the sex workers and underprivileged children in Kalighat. We both felt the work of TSP could be another ray of light for the girls in Soma Home and the college girls in the Sonar Tori shelter (two residential homes run by New Light). This year, as well as working with these specific groups of girls and young women, the idea arose to work with their mothers, some of whom are ex-sex-workers. To bring a class of simple tension-releasing exercises into this place–a gift for us all. To keep this work alive in the field of their community, I did a kind of mini-training with two women. In the future, we will create a team here, to share and spread the Core Wellness work where it is really needed… to offer a connection to creativity and a taste of peace of mind in the midst of life’s challenging circumstances.
Kolkata is in Bengal. The food, colors, music and life here are dynamic and intense. On my last evening in Kolkata, New Light inaugurated the Malala Media Center, named for Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who would not give up her education studies in the face of the Taliban (NY Times, Oct. 2012). Here, the girls of Sonar Tori shelter and myself did a short offering through movement, and Urmi and a renowned innovator of girls’ education in Kolkata, Sister Cyril, spoke about the importance of girls’ education in the world today. Then we all had delicious samosas and the famous Bengali sweet, sandesh. TSP is so very happy to be in this partnership with New Light.
It is through these bodies we are born as human beings. To take good care of the one we’re in and pass this on is a worthy effort. Take A Minute™ for yourself, stretch, and enjoy a gentle breath, even in the midst of the challenges we all face. Your ongoing support of this work is touching so many. We are making a difference in the lives of others.
Looking ahead, be very well, and thank you!
Zuleikha, March 2013, © Swan Lake Publishing
P.S: If you get a chance, watch some of the self-portrait videos made by residents of New Light, posted on the New Light website: http://www.newlightindia.org/Read More »
February 12. 2013. It’s early in the morning in Delhi, India. I have been here since the New Year, and am in the midst of several projects:
- Self care with girls and women through Core Wellness Exercises
- Training palliative care counselors in my new Relaxation Therapeutic Health Exercise Program © For Palliative Cancer Patients and their Families.
I have been invited by the World Buddhist Culture Trust to teach “A Day of Fun and Wellness with Storydancer Zuleikha” in a village school on the outskirts of Delhi.
This morning, we drive down a lane, surrounded by mustard plants. Ah, it is so very nice to see fields of green after being inside Delhi slum areas for so many weeks. Winter is ending and spring is arriving. The air is getting a lot warmer.
The school takes place in both indoor and outdoor classrooms. As we arrive, we see some of the students sitting outside on blankets, with a teacher’s desk in front of the children.The space is basically a flat piece of dusty land, a little like Arizona. Class by class, I work with them in running, jumping, stretching, and some simple exercises. Everyone laughing, laughing. Contagious joy spontaneously erupts during the exercises. Everyone – the principal, teachers, members of the World Buddhist Culture Trust and friends – enjoys being together in this enthusiastic feeling. It is unanimous – everyone present wants to repeat this “Day of Fun and Wellness” next year.
Feb 12, 2013 © Swan Lake Publishing
February 8, 2013
Dear Friends of The Storydancer Project,
I am writing to you from Delhi, India, where it has been the coldest winter in about 40 years. Today the sun is out and there is hope for a beautiful day. Since arriving in Delhi the work has been unfolding at a non-stop pace. I had the great honor to teach at the CanSupport 12th Annual Foundation Course for Palliative Care Nurses. This took place at the All Indian Institute of Medical Services, and was attended by over 100 nurses, as well as doctors taking part in this work. We had a lively session based on the Take A Minute For Your Life™ Core Wellness Exercises, as well as some surprise moments of skipping, jumping, and moving across the floor accompanied by beautiful world music.
“Thank you for your valuable contribution to our Annual Foundation Course. It is always the most anticipated part of the programme.” – Harmala Gupta, Founder of CanSupport