My name is Grant Hathaway Olsen. I am a junior at Salve Regina University and I am currently spending the semester abroad at the University of Hyderabad in India. I am studying International Studies as well as Global Business and Economics.
Before coming to India a frequent question I received from friends and family was “Why did you choose India”. I never had a definitive answer besides that I simply had a strong intuition that this was where I needed to be. I couldn’t tell you if it was the Aerosmith song “Sweet Taste of India” on constant replay in my head from my childhood or my 6th grade book report on the Taj Mahal.
But what I can say is that there has always been a voice in my subconscious whispering, chanting, and guiding me to this great and truly unique country. Either way I have learned to trust my intuition and let it guide me to places I could never imagine.
This same intuition guided me into the hands of a non-profit group, by the name of “VOICE”. As an intern, Averil founder of “VOICE” knew the best way to introduce us to VOICE and their mission would be by bringing us on field visits to the participating schools. I expected the girls to be quite shy and timid, as Life in India can be very hard for women due to the extreme levels of gender inequality.
When Averil introduced us to a few of the VOICE girls, they were anything but shy and timid. It was incredible to see the confidence of the girls that participated in the VOICE program. I was instantly greeted with smiles, questions, and they even persuaded me into singing for them. It was clear to me that VOICE has helped their confidence grow drastically.
Also in a conversation about their future goals and aspirations they were all filled with aspirations to continue on to further education and be strong and active future leaders. Instead of taking on traditional roles as “women of the house” there aims consisted of many important and respected jobs in society like police woman, cardiologists, pilots and optometrists among many others.
It is clear that VOICE is having a very important impact and bringing confidence to the female youth of the Andhra Pradesh region.