Astha Kiran’s Sonia Singh, in Lucknow, hosted STORM’s first trip to India. Having never made a trip like this before, the expectations were low and nerves, riding high.
On arrival, it was like stepping off into a whole new world. It was brand new to all my senses. And just how far into the minority I was for a change, was evident when stepping onto our transfer plane. We were not just the only white British people on there, but I was one of only two women aside from the air hostesses. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. It was so overwhelming. But made the purpose of the trip hit home. I was on that plane and with a knowledge of what to do if danger came about, I needed to pass that knowledge onto the less fortunate that were in these environments daily without any form of self defence. I was there to help, equip, and empower. The girls had come from all over the area and were camping in the school for four days, as were we. They all had different stories, questions, experiences and fears. They were excited and so welcoming. You haven’t had a welcoming as warm as that which we received no matter what you think. To be offered so much by those who had none. It taught me humility and showed me just how much I take for granted in my own day to day.
During the time we spent with these girls, we got to know their stories and build a greater understanding for the defences that would be most useful against the threats around them. Within 4 fleeting days, we had discussed threats from what to when you are simply pushed over from a bully passing on a motorbike to using improvised weapons against acid attacks, ground fighting against attempted rape, and even defending when you have dependents.
Whilst we had so much to offer, I left feeling selfish. As how could I come away feeling so enriched and humbled when I had been the one going to give? We would like to say a warm thank you to Sonia Singh and her girls for their first class hospitality and also a bravo to the girls for their eagerness to learn attitude.