By Yuval Elbashan
Unlike the romanticism that people often associate it with, the life of pursuing social justice is filled with disappointments. My past experiences taught me that good intentions and endless efforts are shattered on the rocks of a twisted reality. And to be honest, it occurs most of the time. If it succeeds, it happens rarely and slowly. But when it does- there’s nothing more wonderful! And that’s exactly what happened today.
Seven years ago, in 2010 we arrived in a distant village a few hours away from Kathmandu to volunteer with Tevel B’tzedek- one of the most beautiful organizations that I had the privilege to volunteer in until today. Amongst our activities there, we held a workshop for the women in the village on basic skills (literacy, English, money management, etc). One of the Israeli female volunteers with us was a doctor who also taught them basic knowledge on prevention of women’s health risks. Gathering them for the meeting was far from easy, as they were working and taking care of their children from dawn until dusk and only at night did they have some time to study. Despite the difficulties, they never stopped smiling during the course, and neither did we.
When I came back over the years, I revisited some of them occasionally and, the more time passed, it seemed that no substantial change was happening in their lives. In one of my conversation with the founding director of Tevel, who is my dear friend, he said that you can never really know the real outcomes of our attempts to create change and therefore we can let it go. My second friend and country director Dr. Bishnu P. Chapagain who is an expert on rural agriculture said that every seed that is planted will sprout in its own time and that it may take years. I agree with what they said but couldn’t help but wonder if there’s any sense in our work.
Today I received an email from a British foundation operating in India and Nepal with a request to fill a recommendation form for two women who wish to study in a program to train as caregivers. It took me a while to realize that these two women were members of the same group from years before. I admit I don’t entirely remember who are they, but It’s impossible to forget their constant smiles spreading over their faces, especially now when it’s all over mine as well.