What a successful, memorable community day

Today, our CSC India 32 team delivered our community service day at CECOEDECON’s founding location. We were welcoming more than 120 women from rural village communities, organised in self help groups. Our agenda was about self-empowerment of women. We organised three workshops about being proud, financial well-being and setting priorities.

Welcoming with the first delegation of women
Welcoming with the first delegation of women

We enjoyed a very warm welcome with the first delegation of women arriving. Everyone of these guests wore a different saree. In the sunlight, these vibrant colours have a very powerful effect. Some women transformed this energy with dancing to the music and they encouraged us to participate as well… While some were still dancing, we were surprised again as all the men were given a turban. In the last few days, I got more and more fascinated about the different colours and styles of turbans I see. I developed a desire to once experience how to fold this 6 m long fabric into a turban on my head. And suddenly, this idea took place much earlier than I could have imagined. A very nice surprise!

Proper setup of a turban
Proper setup of a turban
CSC Team India 32 with turban
CSC Team India 32 with turban

All 5 of us equipped with a turban, we were asked to move to the backyard of the building. Manish explained us that for a community service day, they would like to leave something behind. When you plant a tree, you are making the world a better place for all those generations that follow you. That’s why everyone of our 10 CSC India 32 team members was able to plant an ashoka tree. I had the honour to start this special procedure.

Planting a tree for the following generations
Planting a tree for the following generations
First women in the audience
First women in the audience

Based on my observations in the first 2-3 weeks in India, I realised that people here like to be photographed. The women we invited for this community service day likely did not have a semi-professional photo of them before. That’s why I proposed to use my camera for this day, taking portrait photos of all participants. We framed this idea into the topic of being proud. While I took photos, my colleagues Ale and Mark discussed with the women the connection of body language and pride. At the end of the community service day, every participant received a print of the personal portrait.

Beneficiaries of the IBM CSC Community Service Day India 32
Beneficiaries of the IBM CSC Community Service Day India 32

In the closing session, some women stood up and started singing and dancing. To me, this was a very emotional moment. The room was filled with energy. I got the impression that this was one day in their life they will remember for long.

Singing and dancing in the closing session
Singing and dancing in the closing session

For this community service day, we were expecting about 60 participants. With an attendance of more than 120 people, the printing took longer than planned. Some of the women started to worry about their livestock and other duties they have to look after. Therefore, we offered those still waiting for the print to pick up the photo next week. However, everyone decided setting priority to receiving their photo. This showed us that this personal gift was of high importance to all participants. The smile and pride I saw in their faces when they received their portrait photo was a big reward to our contribution.

IBM CSC Community Service Day India 32 team with CECOEDECON and VSO
IBM CSC Community Service Day India 32 team with CECOEDECON and VSO

The whole team was very pleased with the outcome of this successful, memorable community service day. It was one day everyone who was there will remember for a long time!

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