I taught a workshop recently at the Whitechapel Mission‘s event for Homeless Women. It was a wonderful thing to do with these women who never get a chance to take part in such activities. I felt truly honoured to be dancing with them and be able to share my skills to give them a bit of fun for the afternoon. It was easy for me but meant so much to them, which made me think about all I have in my life. Here’s a wonderful letter that I received after the event which bought a tear to my eye!
All based in one of London’s poorest boroughs these ladies face a range of different hardships that go side by side with living in such poverty. Some have been sleeping rough in doorways and under bridges for over thirty years, others live in sheltered accommodation and struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, some have turned to prostitution, some have escaped abusive marriages, others have mental health problems and no family to support them. These are the women who have sadly fallen through the system and live their lives isolated from basic comforts but even more sadly isolated from basic human love and affection. That’s why it was so important to us to create a personal and special experience as this is something that these women are in desperate need of and it’s only because of your support that it was possible.
The rainy Friday morning began with a queue of ladies huddled at the door eagerly anticipating what lay ahead. On entering the ladies were served a nutritious and authentic Indian lunch it was a real pleasure to see them enjoying the food so much. After some mingling we brought on the true surprise act –YOU!! Having a professional Bollywood teacher like you was really what made the party into a party! The way you made the ladies feel ‘normal’ and cared for was what meant the most, and of course the way you quickly enticed the women into jumping up on their feet and ‘changing some light bulbs’ and ‘shaking their hips’ was extraordinary. Sue who has worked at the shelter for years was in tears watching the joy and childlike happiness on their faces as they danced away.
The day went well beyond anything we had expected and the smiles and laughter that filled the room for the three hours told us that for at least that time these ladies were able to forget the challenges they face everyday and lose themselves in the light and love of Diwali, and for that we are truly grateful to you.