Because you are
A very personal sharing

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6 years ago today, Martha was among 14 people who were killed in a terrorist attack on a guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was there to facilitate gender training with male staff of a development organisation. In her email to me that night at 8:28 pm, she wrote, “the training here has gone off great … they are all so hungry for knowledge and hang on intently on every word that was being said. It was such a good feeling to know that the workshop made a difference to the group…. More when we meet.”

We never met after that. Too many questions left unanswered, too many stories untold. Too many jokes not shared. Even today after a particularly busy work day, I find myself turning around to share a laugh, share some of the craziness of the day. Too many secrets left unshared.

I have missed travelling with you, sampling the tender coconut kheer in a tiny restaurant off Brigade road in Bangalore. Struggling to set up the PRS in strange training halls, sneaking into a training partner’s kitchen early morning to make spinach smoothie, that one trip to Sanatkada and Tunday kababi every trip into Lucknow

Too many …

She was fierce, she was real, she was compassionate, she was every colour, season and mood, if her life was a song, it is still unfinished.

Today, Martha Farrell Foundation has embarked on an unfamiliar journey of providing essential relief to families of women domestic workers.  I find myself thinking – what would Martha have done?

And just like that as I look at the team at Martha Farrell Foundation and as I listen to their voices as they share stories, their plans and strategies – I am reminded of the opening lines of her 2012 lecture at the Library Lecture Hall in Shantou University, China. She said, “Thank you for the opportunity for one of the first presentations that reminds us that women have been left out of development and other processes of growth for many centuries, and sets the stage to include their voice and participation as we move into new arenas of growth and development.”

The Covid Relief operation initiated by the Martha Farrell Foundation for families of domestic workers is a success because of the team that drives it. The all women team in the MFF office working closely with their domestic worker colleagues on the ground have successfully provided relief to more than 300 families in 4 locations of Delhi and Gurgaon in less than a week. Each package lovingly planned, packed and delivered by women domestic workers themselves, accompanied with messages of solidarity and love.

“Martha is not with us today, but her amazing work and legacy still inspires several like me to this day” shares Ishani.

Today, I would like to dedicate my writing to the team at Martha Farrell Foundation. Thank you. Strong, proud and compassionate – you take forward every mission with the same passion, precision, humour and love. Martha lives on because you are.

More when we meet…

Ishani Nangia is currently steering the campaign and advocacy efforts for the Foundation.
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