Nell Hawley

My experience as an unpaid intern at Aman Public Charitable Trust was challenging and satisfying in many unexpected ways. As the youngest, the only non-Indian, and practically the only worker without a degree in sociology, I felt completely at sea when I arrived. When I joined the Peaceful Co-existence Portfolio, however, I began to work on my own projects: I wrote a report of Aman’s Peaceful Co-existence Conference, which I attended, followed by my own research project on Rachel Corrie and the issues surrounding her death in Rafah.

Working with people who were so experienced was intimidating at first, but always exciting: I felt even the smallest of discussions was worthy of another project. Some of my most fond memories of Aman are of sitting around the conference table at lunch, talking about the intricacies of social justice issues in India. I will never, ever forget the care, discipline, and intelligence that Aman’s employees brought to their work. My own work there was personally stimulating and, I hope, valuable; while I wasn’t directly giving aid to people in need, I was helping them in the only ways I could. Aman allowed me to serve in my greatest capacities: as a listener, writer, and researcher.

More importantly, volunteering at Aman and living in India itself gave me a context in which to study the pressing issues of peace, violence, and social justice. And in the end, my work was meaningful because it was humbling. I realized how much work is still needed in New York City--my home-- as well as in India, and how much I have yet to learn as a member of civil society.

I volunteered at Aman the summer before my last year of high school. I attended the Dalton School in New York City for my first, third, and fourth years; Ispent my second at Woodstock School in Mussoorie, Uttaranchal. I am currently a freshman at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I expect to concentrate in History and Literature, Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Public Health, or a combination of all three.

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