Testimonials

Participants’ Impressions

Jaimala Gupta
Founder of Vatsalya (The NGO we visited and photographed)

“I was very impressed by the way Amanda/salaamgarage so systematically organized their visit to Vatsalya. The initial dialogue through emails not only helped me understand purpose of her visit but gave me an opportunity to assist her in planning the groups visit. Often time’s people simply come, with no or very little knowledge and understanding of Indian culture, climate and other important issues. While that was never a problem in Amanda’s case, it was particularly impressive to observe how she demonstrated a natural respect, acceptance and understanding of an entirely new world, so different than that of hers in the West. All the time that she was here, it never occurred to any of us that she was an outsider in the premises. As she moved about and interacted with staff, she conducted herself so easily with the women we work with, and children who live with us.”

“Amanda’s efforts and desire to contribute in bringing about a positive change in the world by heightening social awareness and facilitating global understanding is really admirable. At no point of time during the visit, interactions and photographing we felt that dignity of the poor rural women and the orphaned and abandoned children they were covering as part of her project was compromised.”

“Amanda’s ability to invest with a long-term vision in mind, the empathy with which she thinks and operates and her amazing quality of listening touched and impressed everyone at Vatsalya. Everyone at Vatsalya keenly and affectionately awaits their return! Children often ask me “When is Amanda Didi (Hindi for big sister) coming back?”

Danielle Williams

“I can’t even begin to explain how this trip and the people I was lucky enough to meet impacted my life. To put it simply, it has planted a seed inside of me that I am watching grow on a daily basis. I feel an attachment to India now deep within that has spurred me to act on its behalf. This was also a great professional opportunity for me, since I am still at the point where I’m deciding how I want to spend my life. I am now more focused and have prioritized what’s important to me.”

“It was very inspirational to see an independent facility such as Vatsalya that rescues, nurtures, educates and raises once vulnerable children and restores youth and happiness to their lives. Not only are the children supported and taken care of, but they are trained to lead healthy, self-sufficient lives which benefit people around them.”

“Visiting Vatsalya gave me the desire to be a part of the non-profit community back at home to encourage growth of on-ground service providers back in India to continue taking care of the country’s street children. I am now coordinating a project through a local non-profit called “Positioning Indian Orphans on Global Agenda.”

“It turned out to be one of the best decisions I think I’ve ever made. As a first-time traveler to a developing country, I was fascinated by absolutely anything and everything. I found myself constantly questioning life and the world while there.”

“The most inspirational part of our journey came for me during our visit to Vatsalya. Seeing a community of healthy and happy children, despite their backgrounds, gave me hope and it brought me an enormous amount of joy. I left India with a feeling of wanting to bring that hope and joy back with me and tell people.”

“I know this trip was only the beginning to a chain reaction… not only in my own life, but in the lives of those that each of us from the trip comes into contact with when we share with them our story.”

Conrad Chavez

“I am glad we spent more time at Vatsalya (the NGO) than at any other place we visited. Vatsalya’s inspiring example shows how many lives you can affect positively by having a focused goal and an unshakeable, well-grounded commitment to that goal.”

With this journey to India, I wanted to start having trips that were about more than just getting off a plane, wandering around for a while, and going home with some “I was there” snapshots.”

“Spending time at Vatsalya definitely impacted my journey. I saw street children in a new context. I didn’t just see them as beggars on the street, and I knew that there was a way to help.”

“When I have the opportunity to travel in the future, I hope to have more chances to understand the world and maybe contribute something in return, both to the people I visited and to the people back home, and hopefully connect them a little more effectively. I would like to continue to use photography and storytelling to make that connection.

Linda Steen

“You are peace. Though the chaos can be overwhelming, there is spaciousness between the truck speeding down to market two millimeters away and feeling the air move against my arm as it brushes by. Though the intensity can boggle the mind, there is such stillness and devotion that I could easily allow the world to pass me by in peace.”