“The best advocacy comes from the heart and is born from personal experience. When we transform our pain into a driving force for change, we not only empower ourselves but also inspire others to stand up and make a difference.” (Amy Bucher, n.d.).
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Helping people access clean water is worth travelling for…and for me, it meant visiting India for the 46th time. I made my latest trip to India in June, 2023 to visit the Indian Institute of Technology – Roorkee, the premiere institute in India dealing with water resources.
What do you get when you combine electrical and computer engineering with soil science? In my case, you get a MITACS Globalink Research Internship.
Through this program, I joined the University of Guelph in June 2022, to work with soil scientist Prof. Asim Biswas. My semester exams at Jadavpur University had just ended, and I was both eager and nervous about my first international journey to the other side of the globe.
From 1842, indentured labourers (including half of my ancestors) were sent to the Caribbean, with large Indian populations moving to Trinidad, Jamaica, and British Guiana. The system endured until 1917. British-made famines were common during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, making indentureship schemes attractive. Certainly, indentureship was better than the slave trade it replaced, but it was grueling all the same.
I glanced at the poster hung on the South Indian yoga ashram’s wall, and read to myself the phrase displayed, “what you really need to know is what you want out of this life.”
I laid down on my mat and thought about these words. I found myself in a South Indian ashram in 2016 as part of my ongoing training and education as a certified yoga instructor and registered therapist in Canada, and a result of my own personal journey of healing and growth in my life.
Research usually begins with a quest to learn something about others. But in my case, I learned something about myself at the same time. In 2019, I was fortunate to spend a month talking to people with disabilities (PWD) in Delhi and Lucknow. This was part of a larger research project conducted by two think tanks, LIRNEasia in Sri Lanka and Vihara Innovation Network in India that were keen to understand how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve the life conditions of PWD.
Like many South Asians, I grew up watching Bollywood movies. When I first arrived in Canada in 2013, they were like a piece of home for me. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn about women in film, working behind the camera as writers, producers and directors, when I enthusiastically signed up for the Research Assistant position with the Canada India Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). My role was to assist with the conference "Women in Films and Media Conference" funded by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute.