In an environment where hope is scarce, and fun even rarer, Aubrey ’11 offered both while teaching ballet in an orphanage for HIV infected children this summer.
Unable to speak Hindi with the orphans, Aubrey found common ground through dance.
After deciding she wanted to spend the summer in India, she tried to find a job there by getting in touch with the American consulate and embassy in New Delhi. Those attempts failed, but another contact put Aubrey in touch with Naz orphanage.
“It wasn’t what I had planned, but I like kids so it sounded like a good opportunity,” Aubrey said. “My job basically was to keep the kids happy.”
Originally Aubrey, a classically trained ballerina, had no plans to teach the kids ballet, but as she interacted with them she realized they would enjoy the activity.
“They fell in love with the dancing,” Aubrey said. “It’s already a favorite activity culturally, but they really just loved ballet.”
Spending a summer in India was something Aubrey had hoped to do for a long time, especially since her dad frequently travels there for work.
“My dad is always going back and forth for work, and I thought it would be a great experience to be able to travel with him and work this summer,” Aubrey said.
Aubrey’s dad, Steven, was excited that she was able to experience India, though her trip wasn’t what they expected.
“The work didn’t plan out the way she wanted, but she found joy in working with these kids who were just so happy to play with her,” he said.
After working five hours a day for two weeks at the orphanage, Aubrey toured the country. She and her father went to Agra and saw the Taj Mahal and many other Indian landmarks.
“It’s really amazing how much you can see in two weeks,” said Aubrey.
Although Aubrey does not keep in direct contact with Naz, she is still interested in their work, especially with the orphan’s clinic. Due to bigger hospitals, the clinic is in danger of being shut down.
“I am going to continue supporting the orphanage because they have barely enough funding for the medicine so there will be bake sales [at Marlborough],” Aubrey said.
It only cost 200 American dollars to run the clinic, because American dollars have a much higher value than Rupees.
Aubrey plans to go back next summer and continue her work as an up-lifter and dance instructor for the orphans.