Questions…

Some people around the web suggested that this blog isn’t very clear about the purpose of The Ashraya Project.

They are probably right and I apologize for the confusion.

The Ashraya Project started when I met Virginia Lupindo, a woman who adopted a children in RL through Ashraya, and it’s now their ambassador here in SL. She told me about this organization and I wanted to do something to raise funds for it.

I contacted Ashraya in March trying to explain to them what is SecondLife™ and what was my intention. Even if they weren’t sure to understand what is this virtual world, they were happy for what I wanted to do and allowed me to use their name for the project.

As you can read in the “about” section of this blog, Ashraya takes care of different projects.

As regards for The Ashraya Project, our goal is to raise funds to sponsor children living at Neelbagh Rural Residential School. This sponsorship will cover the costs of their basic needs items and study programs.

To see more about the sponsorship program we want to support, you can look at this page of their site: http://www.ashraya.net/subpages/Sponsorship.html

For any questions, feel free to contact me inworld and I will be happy to clarify your doubts.

Anna Sapphire

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Here you can find some questions I answered for a recent interview about The Ashraya Project:

1. With so many charities out there, what made you select Ashraya over all of the others?

One day I met through a common friend a woman, Virginia Lupindo, that started to tell me her story: she adopted a children through Ashraya in rl and she went in India to visit Bangalore, the city where the organization is based.
She told me how this organization works, how it is composed mostly by local people, who, in my opinion, are the best to know what children really need because they have always live there. Many are volunteers, others are Indian teachers, doctors and social workers.
I visited Ashraya website and I was really impressed by the possibility to sponsor children not only in their basic needs but also in their studies. Through Ashraya sponsorship programs you can sponsor a children or a class for one or more years. This is something that can really change their lives. It’s not a meal for one day or a week, but it’s the possibility of a bright future where they can become what they dream, and it would be impossible for them without the help of this organisation.

2. What are your hopes and goals for this project?

My goal, that is my hope at the same time, is to raise the more funds possible to sponsor a class during more then one year of studies.
I’m so touched by all the people who offered me their help for this cause, it’s so beautiful to see how this cause is touching people: staff members, designers, artists, sponsors… I’m so grateful to them and I’m sure people will respond. I hope everybody will have fun while thinking to do something that can have a true impact on the rl life of children.
With the help of everybody, I hope to keep this project for the upcoming years, to allow the children we are going to sponsor to continue in their studies.

3. What has been the response from the people who run Ashraya in real life? What has it been like to communicate and work with them?

When I first contacted them I didn’t know how they would have answered, because it’s really hard to explain what SL is and how it can give a real life help. I found out that Ashraya is very open minded and even if I’m still not sure they understood what this virtual world is, they were more then happy to know I was willing to fundraise for them.
They didn’t focus on the means but on the meaning of what I explained to them. So the communication with them was good and they accepted to send me all the information I needed to start in this project.

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An article written by Virginia Lupindo, who read it at our kick-off event (Interview to Virginia Lupindo “How Ashraya changed my life”)

The first time I heard about Ashraya was in March 2007 when they introduced my son. They told me he was hosted in Bangalore by an organization for children and women in need. In Jenuary 2008 I went to Bangalore in India with my husband. When I entered in the garden of that ashram I felt welcome. My story as person and mom started in that moment, but this is another story…

Going back to Ashraya I saw there the committment of people, their heart and professionality of those who work there. They take care every day of the children with different projects to help them and also with adoptions. I saw the eyes of the children shining when they felt at home there, I saw the pain mixed with the hope in the people taking care of them.

Behind these children there are often bad stories and these people work night and day with faith to give them a bright future through adoptions or, in some cases, helping the whole family of the children. This opened something inside me. I’m a teacher in real life and I felt that there was a whole world behind these children, a different one. At that moment I was only a witness and I opened my eyes and my soul to them.

Coming back to home, my world was waiting for me, the new emotion of being the mom of a kid not so young… and it was another new world to discover. Inside me I had a voice that keep asking “what can I do for these children”?

In July 2008 I joined SecondLife. My first year here I tried to understand what this virtual world could give and get from me, the emotions and friendships, and my avatar started to dress like an indian woman. Then it came my idea. I founded a group about creativity as mean to express ourself and everything I started to do had the goal to fundraise for Ashraya.

My closest friends started to help me with this initative and I thank them for being so important in my life. We organised exhibitions, small fairs, meetings in which we share indian culture and poetry or meetings about the condition of women in India and the problem of the casts.

My feeling of missing India became more and more endurable. My willing of take care of them keep growing and I started to become the ambassador of Ashraya children in SecondLife. I was happy and proud.

My son behind the computer screen asked me sometimes why my avatar looks like an indian woman and why I was doing all this for Ashraya: “why do you keep thinking about India? Why do you want to give them money?”

I always tell him that his country is beautiful and thanks to Ashraya other children like him may have a bright future. His memories are bad but they are getting more serene every day.

In the meanwhile I met Anna, a person interested in doing something for Ashraya. When we spoke, our feeling was immediate: Anna understood so well what I was doing for Ashraya… and here we are today. Maybe this is another new beginning, and we will be able to speak about it in the coming months.

Virginia Lupindo

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