POWERHOUSE OF STRENGTH
Rishimukh|April 2021
She rose from the sprawling shanties of Dharavi to build the lives of over 15000 people, sex workers, and jail inmates and give them a reason to live with a renewed sense of self-worth and purpose. Reshma Parab shares her poignant story.
Reshma Parab

Living and surviving in Mumbai’s famous Dharavi, is a sheer adventure by itself. Nobody knows how and when you could lose your way in the maze of dusty narrow lanes among teeming people, open sewers, and cramped huts. When young Reshma was growing up, she was clueless about her future prospects. Wondering if she was destined to be a loser, Reshma experienced a sense of rejection and hopelessness while witnessing many incidences of crime and corruption unfold before her eyes. Days passed and she continued with her routine life until she chanced upon the Art of living program.

THE DAWN OF REALISATION

A meditation workshop called Navchetna Shibir was organised in our area for adults,” says Reshma. “However most of them being daily laborers opted out. Interestingly children turned up and I attended the workshop by chance. It was a new and soothing experience for me and I realised that it is possible to find peace even amidst the dust and din.”

For the first time, Reshma felt a shift within herself. She wanted to explore better ways of leading a happy, productive life. Inspired by this new change, Reshma underwent the Youth Leadership Training Program. “It was simply magical. it’s hard to describe in words. By the completion of the program, my mind was sharp, composed, and stable. My perception and outlook of life had completely changed.”

THE BIG CHALLENGE

Slowly Reshma joined a dynamic team of dedicated volunteers and started working to bring change to people around her. Their earnest efforts bore fruit when they successfully managed to start a free school for the lesser privileged children. “We must have approached around 400 homes and tried our best to convince parents and make them see sense about the importance of their child’s education. Eventually, 50 students got admitted to the school. nevertheless, it was a big achievement to start with,” smiles Reshma.

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