Footsteps to India is an adventure to inspire for impact
It inspired three Australians to travel with purpose
For Natalie, Sabrina and Lisa it was about embarking on a journey to witness the magic and heart of India. A journey where they would be walking with the students from The School of Life. A school where most of the students call the streets of Varanasi home. The crew would then travel to Varanasi to witness first-hand where the students live and go to school.
Early in the planning phases it was clear that having a solid and clear itinerary was not going to happen. Despite planning from the comforts of Australia, the crew were working on India time where plans are never certain, and life is about living in the moment. Before stepping foot in India, the crew learnt the power of letting go and leaving the itinerary in the hands of the universe.
What started with a five hour delay in the Perth International Airport, the crew had to embrace a new motto. At every turn from enduring a gruelling 7 hour drive up the Himalayan mountains only to arrive to a power failure in Ravangla, the crew’s new motto ‘just go with the flow’ had firmly established itself as the guiding mantra to get them through each challenge and obstacle.
Once at the top of the mountain it was clear what role each traveller would play. Natalie would become the fact expert when random questions would unfold. When the travelling would get intense, like the moment the crew encountered a bogged truck on the edge of the mountain Sabrina would always find a way to get the team laughing. On the other end of the spectrum, Lisa would keep things real with a contingency plan mapped out for every obstacle.
With little hiking experience the crew didn’t know what to expect for the hike, particularly having travelled from Australia to hike with a group of teen boys, many of whom were born on the streets. Yet, the Australians found themselves humbled beyond anything they could have ever experienced.
The gruelling 9 hour hike up Maenam Hill was made easier as the boys would wait for the Australian crew to catch up and offer jungle sticks to take the edge off. The boys also offered to share their lunch of a single hard-boiled egg. What do you say to a boy who has faced the greatest hardship in life and yet offers you a lending hand of support.
Footsteps to India was able to raise over aud$3800 for The School of Life. We thank donors from all over Australia for believing in the impact of their support on the education of the kids at The School of Life. This money has enabled the school to provide life-changing outdoor activities for the students.
What we can’t measure is the impact of the trip on people’s lives. Each hiker embarked on the journey to overcome a challenge unique to themselves. For the Australian crew, it was a journey to the unknown to witness first-hand the magic of India. For the boys from The School of Life the trip to the Himalayan mountains was so much more.
As the world develops our connection to nature is forgotten, and this is even more so for the boys. Life in Varanasi is fraught with scarcity and insecurity no human should endure. The opportunity to travel to the mountains was an idea the boys never even thought was possible. To breathe fresh mountain air and escape the chaos and uncertainly of life on the streets the trip to the India's mountains allows the boys a moment to escape and reflect on the possibilities of life.
The School of Life has been educating India’s street kids for 16 years and with the support of the global community they will continue to provide free education, a basic human right, to India’s street kids.