The Jomolhari (also Chomolhari) is a sacred mountain in the Himalayas that borders Tibet, China, and Bhutan. The trek, which generally requires a guide, travels across remote valleys and high mountain passes, but some of the most remarkable sites are of the traditional Buddhist and Himalayan culture: the Dzongs (Bhutanese fortresses), museums, local homes of yak herders, and the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
Just a few days after the christening of their youngest daughter Ariane, Maxima and Willem Alexander flew out to India with then Queen Beatrix for a State Visit. The Netherlands was the fourth largest investor in India at the time so the visit was designed to improve their relations. As expected the visit centred around philanthropy, diplomacy and sight seeing: they visited an NGO training centre focusing on Maxima’s pet project of micro financing and a healthcare project in a school; they met with politicians and then President Patil, the first woman president of India; and they took in the site where Gandhi was cremated. After the trip, Maxima and Willem Alexander travelled onwards alone to Bhutan. They experienced some of the beautiful sites in the Dragon Kingdom. They took in temples, a monastery and the National Museum which promotes Bhutanese culture and history. The visit won plenty of headlines when Maxima turned her hand to archery, just as she had in Mongolia the year before, at a Centre which had been awarded the Prince Claus award for integrating women in to men’s sports. The itinerary was packed with interesting events, particularly a seminar on the National Happiness Index which Bhutan uses to measure happiness of its citizens rather than the traditional income related measures. Of course they also had a meeting with King Jigme Wangchuck. He was only 27 at the time and yet was highly popular; it’s likely Maxima and Willem Alexander had a lot to talk about as he would go on to become King just six years later at the age of 46, at which point he was the youngest monarch in Europe.
Kranti means “Revolution” in Hindi – and we are the Revolutionaries!
What We Do
Kranti is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light areas to become agents of social change. Kranti believes that, when girls like us have access to the same education, training, and opportunities as people from privileged backgrounds, we can become exceptional leaders.
Our backgrounds give us added value as leaders and agents of social change because we’ve had to develop innovativeness, compassion, and resilience in the face of marginalization and discrimination. By combining our experiences with the support, opportunities, and confidence Kranti gives us, we can revolutionize not only our own lives, but also our community, the people around us, and all of India. Look out world – here come the Revolutionaries!
How We Get There
Therapy: Because change starts from within At Kranti, we believe that the first and most important step of becoming a social change agent is learning to love oneself. All of the Revolutionaries have faced abuse, rape, and other types of violence, as well as the emotional and mental burden of coming from India’s most marginalized populations. To help us overcome society’s prejudice toward us, our mothers, and our community, Kranti offers many kinds of therapy, including art therapy, dance movement therapy, and cognitive based therapy.
Education: Because changing the world requires critical thinking as well as literacy At Kranti, we believe the purpose of education is not to attain employment; it is to achieve empowerment and social change. We study in mainstream schools and open schools, and attend trainings with partner NGOs, including Swaraj, PWESCR, CREA, and Pravah. We are also free to design our own curriculum and measure our own progress.
Extracurricular: Because social change is led by well-rounded human beings Each Revolutionary is required to take two extracurricular activities: one physical and one artistic. We’re learning everything from photography, drawing, singing, piano, and drums to karate and dance!
Social Justice: Because social change must be taught and learned The Social Justice Curriculum covers 20 topics including caste, class, religion, environment, gender, sexuality, and women’s rights. Through a combination of workshops, documentaries, theatre, guest speakers, and field trips, we learn about the root causes of India’s biggest social justice problems, what the situation is today, and how we can help solve the problem. We even get to design and implement our own projects for each social justice unit.
Workshops and Theater:Because changing the world requires practice We have led dozens of interactive workshops across India for over 15,000 people at schools, companies and NGOs; topics range from trafficking and sex work to gender equality and sexual abuse. We have also written a play about their lives, which we have performed in over 50 venues in India. By telling our stories, we’ve changed audiences’ mindsets about us, our moms, and our community.
Travel: Because you can’t change the world without seeing it first Kranti takes between 3 and 5 trips each year, including an annual Himalayan trek in India, Nepal, or Bhutan. Traveling provides the opportunity to learn from various NGOs and to lead workshops around the country, as well as develop the confidence, grit, and resilience that can only come from traveling.
IN THE LAND OF DREAMY DREAMS - model: Karen Elson - photographer: Tim
Walker - fashion editor: Kate Phelan - hair: Duffy - makeup: Samantha
Bryant - location: Himalayan Mountains in Bhutan - Vogue UK May 2015 - featured designer: Simone Rocha (made to order)
The Golden Gates of Punakha Dzong Temple
Traditionally part of Tibetan Buddhism (where the Tscheu festivals
are now banned), the Bhutanese festivals are large religious social
gatherings. Cham dances are performed by Buddhist monks; different
dances tell the tales of local gods, myths and legends.