After a 23 hour journey, I finally touched down in Dehradun, India. From the airport, I was picked up by an Ankuri employee named Gunjan, who has since become my best friend. As we made the 2 hour drive, she explained the different areas we passed through and significant buildings along the way. Arriving at Thikana was a wonderful suprise, for the property sat on top of a large hill overlooking the village below. The view is spectacular with the most beautiful sunsets. Rachna, the founder of Ankuri, is extremely welcoming and wants to make sure I am fully immersed within the Indian culture. Her story is truly inspiring as she explained her jounrey of starting Ankuri and her reason of returning to her mountain home away from Delhi.
I have already completed a few media assignments, for inspiration is everywhere to be found. This includes posting photos on Ankuri’s Instagram of the knit clothes created by the women, as well as creating a short video on the farming initiative on the property. In more long term, I hope to create a film on two twin girls who have completed sessions at Ankuri’s literacy center and get an understanding of how the center has impacted them. I have visited their home and met their family, and was given the warmest of welcomes. Even with so little, the family still went out of their way to offer me tea and snacks. Finally, I learned that Ankuri means ‘sapling,’ symbolizing a new start or new beginning for the women involved.
Throughout the internship, I hope to become as immersed within the Indian culture as possible. This can be everything from visiting local monasteries and temples, taking trips to the bazaar, interacting with more village locals and learning some hindi! The creative freedom is endless, so I hope to continually be inspired in ways to represent the wonderful work Ankuri is doing through film and photography.