From Sandra Bowkett…
I first meet Aasha Ram in 2015 while taking footage for a film a day in the life of Kumhaargram, he and his wife Sombati Devi are making the big water pots with the TV in the background. On subsequent visits, we meet. After the Crosshatched Tour last year I revisited their home and Sombati Devi put the hand of their eldest daughter 12 y.o, Neha, in mine. Her hand and arm were badly scarred from scolding she sustained at 6 months. They had decided it was time for surgery. What could I do? When I visited last October I proposed that Aasha Ram come to Australia with Manohar Lal for a series of Crosshatched activities to generate income to pay for the surgery. In the meantime, I gave them the money, $400 to proceed. Post surgery a happy girl. Apparently, the surgery was actually about $1000. I suspect they will have gone into debt to pay the balance and as you can see from the film and images here the family of 6 live in very simple circumstances. Home and workplace are the same.
So rather than giving money, I think it is more empowering to earn it. Through a series of Crosshatched workshops and other activities, he will be able to earn a decent amount to take home. However, if he has to pay his travel costs (about $1500) to get to Australia this amount would be considerably diminished, and I think it is OK to be ‘sponsored’.
I have been facilitating ceramic exchange project with this village since 2003. In the early years of these projects we had grants from various funding bodies (www.crosshatched123.com for journals) in more recent years they have been self-funded, however in this instance, I think friends funding is a possibility. I have decided not to go to crowd funding as 100% can go to the potters, there is not a specific target and this seems easy. If we achieve Aasha Ram’s costs the balance can go towards Manohar Lal’s costs. There won’t be any incentive giveaways other than knowing you will be contributing to the general well-being of this family.
So…. any amount large and small will be equally appreciated.
If this interests you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and details on how to contribute. I will take the funds to India when I go this February.
For more information about Sandra Bowkett’s practice, see the essay The World in a Chai Cup.