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  • Writer's pictureSailesh Mishra

Humans of Pink Innings - RaheenJummani Jaiswal

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

Life is indeed beautiful, and love makes it worth living. Life’s every aspect and experience has taught me different lessons; each lesson has helped me come closer to my inner self. I believe in miracles and trust me it happens. Just need to believe – words recounted by Raheen Jummani Jaiswal.

We were born to love and will die while loving.

I find Peace, tranquility and contentment seeing people happy. I always wanted to reach out to people – to serve, to spread love and happiness. Children and spreading love has always been the two most important aspects of my life. As a child I always believed that Love can cure everything, it the most powerful emotion in all living beings. Very early in life, I started following Mother Teresa and she became my inspiration.

I was exposed to social work and sensitive environment as a child as it runs in the family. Especially my grandfather, grand mother and parents. In the 8th standard I joined school NSS where I served the marginalized children, worked at widow home etcand continued to be an active member and leader of NSS in college as well. I started working at the age of 16 as a volunteer in various NGO's. I took up to Radio as an RJ around the same period with an intent to reach out to as many people as I can and make a difference even as much as I can. It is for these initial experiences that have given me the direction and steered me towards the journey I am on today.

I had decided early on to become a psychologist to understand people better, which would help me serve them better. I completed graduation from K.C.College, Mumbai and studied post-graduation in Clinical Psychologist from SNDT, Mumbai in 2006 and have been passionate about psychology as a subject right from the school days. I was also actively involved in social services throughout the college - K.C.College where my professorsplayed an important role in tapping my potentials and gave me the courage to stand out. It was during my first assignment at Nair Hospital, Mumbai with commercial sex workers and their children that I realized their sufferings which at most instances, they (the children) are not able to express or convey to anyone.

I owe majority of my learnings from all my experiences, further through involvements and interactions over the years with commercial sex workers, their daughters, street children, slum children, child sexual abuse survivors, rape survivors, child labor, parents, elders, elders living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia and their families, HIV Affected and infected adults and children, artisan women and their children. All of the above have taught me the most crucial aspect of it all - The Attitude of Gratitude. No matter what situation a person or a child has been in or is going through, the power of love and care spreads unconditionally and to have such consciousness to embrace the sense of gratitude is enough to plant the seed of positivity.

I am also an advocate of the creative art-based therapies and practice it as well. As a counselor, I believe in holistic healing and looking at individuals as humans and not their labels. Certainly deviating from the professional norms, I strongly believe in connecting at a Personal level - which I consider is a myth about being professional.

Since I was child, it was my vision and a dream to start an NGO to further contribute and give back to the society. In the year 2010, I could finally transform my passion and the dream into reality and formulated “Open Your Arms Foundation”.

Open Your Arms Foundation (OYA) is an organization dedicated to Mental Health and focuses on working with different marginalised population and people belonging to different strata. Catering to the society by providing psychological counselling/therapy, remedial education, workshops and trainings. OYA has partnered with various NGOs, rescue homes, schools in Mumbai to provide counselling, remedial education, workshops and trainings to help and nurture children who had dealt with trafficking, prostitution, sexual abuse, learning disabilities and other distress situations. Our mission at OYA is to help create a child friendly environment, mentally healthy environment.

It was difficult to start such a platform. The initial journey had its fair share of ups and downs, with rejections in various forms. But these only made me more determined to achieve it further.

“I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It's because of them I'm doing it myself.”― Albert Einstein

The statement above has been true for all my life experiences. My passion and constant support from my family has helped OYA to grow stronger and achieve my dream. St. Isabel High School, Mazgaon, Mumbai was the first school to say yes to partner with us (OYA) and from there on it was never looking back.

I believe that the children need to be heard, and they should not be exposed discrimination of any kind. Each child deserves unconditional love, acceptance, respect, no contradictions, opportunity to grow and explore. Children teach you many lessons, which can help us deal with different challenges. I have learned so much from my girls and these children.

Every child everywhere, blossoming in love and care.

As a part of OYA, I have been working as a psychologist in several schools and rescue homes in Mumbai. Our OYA team is called as Band of Believers – Believe it, Achieve it!

There are a set of beliefs which has always helped me reach where I am and I strongly stand by these and persistently promote these. I believe in having a ‘Positive Intent’ for anything I do or am a part of. It has, and always helps in staying on the right path and negotiate through unknown ones.

Harmony is crucial – at heart and at mind. Our bodies are beautiful entities which can surprise us by achieving and performing endeavors which are unimaginable when the heart and the mind are in harmony. Whereas, when one fails, the other follows.

Self-Love is equally essential. It is the fundamental aspect for having a positive self-respect. Only when you love yourself, you are able to love others and spread the positivity.

Loving others also means Not to judge them. If we judge others we have no time to love them.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”― Mother Teresa

The power of Love is greater than anything. Loving and just being there for someone is enough. Even the ‘thought’ of being there is enough to spread the light of love and hope. It can do wonders.

I believe in the Power of a hug. The warmth from a good hug can make one feel safe and see the ray of hope.

Being able to help the girls, the children and all the others find themselves – makes me feel content and encourages me keep pursuing this path of love and care. While the journey has been an unplanned one , but it has been satisfying. And as always, life keeps surprising with its wonders. I am thankful to my parents, husband, in-laws, siblings, daughter, family, friends, team OYA, girls, children, teachers, colleagues, all the who have been there and helped me become a better person.

I started this journey towards the unknown as a lone traveller, but along the way, I kept meeting people and the ensemble kept growing. – Majrooh Sultanpuri.

As Narrated to Shubham Kanoje.

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