In 2008 I returned to India twice more, once in May and once in December. On these visits I led Communicative English workshops again with the NNBY team, in Dehra Dun and in Bor Dharan on their youth retreats. They were fun, and our friendships went deeper. But it was not clear how we should organize our English workshops and where the need was.
For these NNBY retreats there were students coming to Nagpur from the north and the south of India, a considerable distance. On my first trip (in December 2007) I had met Sachin from Bodh Gaya in the north and Arun, from Kerala in the south, and we were exploring ways to collaborate. The travel costs to Nagpur were a burden for the Indian students, but quite cheap by American standards. So we decided that they would recruit students to come to Bor Dharan/Nagpur in December 2008 and that I would lead a small fundraising campaign in The U.S. to establish scholarships for these youth.
In the Summer of 2008 I established JBJI as a registered non-profit, based in San Francisco (on my laptop!) and thanks to the generosity of friends and family, we created our first scholarships. We sponsored 20 students total, coming to Nagpur from Bodh Gaya and Kerala. That December I also spent time with my new friends in Delhi, on the JNU campus, and made presentations in Dalit communities in north India. We were starting to establish our own mobile projects, and it became clear that the need for what we offering, educational projects for youth, could really flourish away from Nagpur, in the smaller communities in the north and south of India where our friends were based.
Sachin and Arun proposed that the following year, December 2009, we should lead our own projects in their home communities. And so we established our first Communicative English curriculum, set up our own workshops and retreats, and took Jai Bhim International on the road!
Dayamudra, August 15, 2014