R: We have girls with very successful stories but I have would like to share one in particular.
We met her when she was 17, she didn’t have the chance to complete her studies, abused by her step-father and kicked out of her house when she was 12.
She found herself living in somebody’s house washing dishes, doing housework. We tried to help her out trying to push her into studies, but she was failing all over again and she was getting less and less motivated. She was very depressed for not being able to achieve any academic results until she had the chance to study music.
She discovered her passion was to play drum, so we applied to Indian music schools, but nobody would take her because she would not fit with the other students as she was not from an upper class background. We then apply to other schools in the UK and in the US and all of them accepted her.
She eventually got a 9 month scholarship in Washington DC where she could study and play drums in a band. She’s now back to India and she’s working in an organisation as a music therapist, helping children from marginalised communities. I would say that the biggest achievement is the smile on her face when she plays drums and the smile on the face of the kids while she’s teaching.
This is real success in my opinion. Thanks to music she found her dimension, drums played a big role in her development and she eventually finished school. We shouldn’t judge people based on the mainstream boxes, success is not just that.
RTC: Are you happy?
R: I went through therapy for 3 years until I was introduced to meditation and I realise that it was very good for me. I’m not saying that is the only solution but I found it very useful.
Happiness is a strange word because I know sex workers that are actually happy and I know millionaires that are not happy at all. We all know the ingredients for happiness listed by the Huffington Post – she smiles – but at Kranti what we teach to our kids is gratitude, compassion, non judgemental behaviour; we teach how to be grateful starting from something simple. If for lunch they have a tomato we ask them to trace back the story of it, being grateful for the person who sold it to them, who harvested it, who washed it. This is a process we adopt to help them understand their role in the world, how significant they are to everyone else around them.
I would say that being grateful is the main ingredient to happiness. I am so grateful for my teacher, for my friends and for my life. I believe we all have the capacity to be much happier than we think we are.
RTC: Robin, I wonder what role plays forgiveness for those who were abused by relatives?
R: One of the girls that collaborates with me has been abused by her stepdad, she found help in therapy and I have also noticed she found a great help in meditation.
Considering that no matter what you do, the only thing you can control is yourself, as the person that has hurt you will never change.
At this point you have to choose if you want to carry anger in your life or if you want to be forgiving and compassionate. Forgiveness is the best thing you can do for yourself to be freed from anger.
RTC: Where do you see Kranti in 5 years?
We are planning to implement 3 different curricula based not necessarily on academic skills. We are willing to create an environment where everyone can be empowered as we want to value people for who they are.