Nanubhai Blog

Fusion Fosters Her Cultural Awareness and Compassion

Sonia explains how respect for culture impacted her education and is a vital component in the mission of Nanubhai. 


I attended an Indian school for years and they were probably the best years ever. I learned Gujarati and

Hindi and devoured books in English. We were taught to respect every religion and we celebrated and

heard about everything in the Indian and the western calendar. My school, Jamnabai Narsee School,

taught me to take pride in Indian culture and customs and made me fall in love with Shakespeare at the

same time. Nothing could have been more perfect. Indian schools teach you about fusion. We integrate

everything with our Indian heritage, from language to education.

The day I left my Indian school to join an American boarding one, I felt that I would never be able to

experience or see fusion again. In the midst of my worries, my boarding school gave me a different gift,

a gift of concern and compassion, the same gift which brought me to Nanubhai this summer. In boarding

school, I ran my own project concerning mobile literacy for women. I met numerous girls who were

passionate about learning the nuances of the English language but were not privileged to do so. One of

my fondest memories of high school was book hunting to put together a library for these women.

Reading material which was culturally appropriate and interesting at the same time.

This summer I was surprised to see similar principles used at this foundation. Everyone can come up

with sustainable and unique solutions and rules but Nanubhai came up with culturally respectful ones at

the same time. Nanubhai interns who are usually from America are encouraged to learn Gujarati and are

exposed to Indian culture closely. The ground team members of Nanubhai in India happen to be

residents of nearby villages who exactly understand the importance of the work Nanubhai does and

encourage more people to support us. We were recently given an assignment which encouraged us to

go out in public and conduct impromptu interviews about the importance of women’s education in

India. The key word to describe this would be fusion. The roots of this organization might be American

but we have embraced Indian culture in every form possible. We respect the rules of the Indian society

and in return we get nothing but the purest form of appreciation and support. I recently gave my

Nanubhai card to a women I buy street food from and in return I got the widest smile possible. Yes, she

said. “Our Gujarati girls must go to college; they must do something with their lives”.