Drishtee Immersion
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Stories

Welcome to Stories by Drishtee Immersion. This is our places to share stories gathered from the field, from Immersion participants, and those shared by others about our global mobility experiential learning programs in India. 

Empathy empowers student/community partnerships for social impact! We are a global mobility program specialising in experiential learning, empathy, social innovation and community empowerment.

Immersion Impact: Securing Sonoshi’s water future

Drishtee Immersion is a social business, which connects people from around the world with rural communities. Over the last two years Drishtee Immersion has partnered with Sonoshi to explore water in the village, exploring community needs, understanding root cause issues, and supporting positive actions forward. Recently, these efforts culminated in the launch of the ‘Sonoshi Paani Filter’ system, a significant step towards securing the community’s water future. This article will showcase the unique empathy-based approach undertaken

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Immersion Stories: Andrea Lin

It has almost been a month since I came back from India, but I can still see the vibrant rural landscape and hospitable villagers. These vivid memories have been flickering in the back of my mind and impacting my every thought and action on a daily basis. This experience has changed me into a better human being; able to feel and be more alive. In hindsight, it is surprising how numb I had become living a fast-paced lifestyle in Sydney, consistently bombarded with information overload. This was before I participated in the incredible Drishtee Immersion program.

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Immersion Stories: Alice Perkes

This is Alice’s story experience, as a nursing student, connecting with people relating to India’s rural health system. “We continually learnt about and were exposed to the powerful and transformative notion of empathy, and furthermore the role it plays in building and fostering relationships based upon a shared understanding… It was so humbling and inspiring to be reminded of these values within an environment that presented a multitude of workplace stressors, and is something I will strive to continually reflect upon during my future career as a nurse.”

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Immersion Stories: Rubee King

If you treat life as a journey, open to unexpected twists and turns, the exploration will inevitably lead to new people, new stories, new perspectives and inspiration. Rubee King, spending time in a tribal village in Maharashtra, found one such serendipitous connection, to a family, their love for two daughters and how it is possible to find connection through deeply personal creative solace. This is a story in reflection of this deeply human experience.

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Immersion Stories: Jenivy Sewak

Sonoshi is a tribal village with some of the most extraordinary people I will ever meet. I can’t think of how to describe them but strong. Intrinsically and extrinsically, true strength was shown within every single family in countless forms… My preconceptions about what a rural village would be like was absolutely blown away by the women of Sonoshi. Jenivy Sawak participated in our three week empathy and social impact program in a tribal region of Maharashtra, India. Here are some exerts from her blog.

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Immersion Ideas: The transformational potential of empathy

After exploring the notion of ‘empathy’, Nathan Wiltshire shares his insights from facilitating a range of empathy experiences between unlikely collaborators across the world. This work, developed over several years of research and practice, seeks to guide willing people to overcome the many challenges presented in understanding others, with transformative learning that advances empathy into action.

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Immersion Stories: Bilqis Kencana

Travelling to India was incredibly exciting, well, if I am honest, I was probably more nervous and a little anxious. To spend three weeks with people in a vastly different culture, in an entirely new place and country I’d only dreamed of visiting. I knew deep down the opportunity to learn real skills for empathy, to apply it for real, and do something positive in the world was something I didn’t want to miss. It was special in so many ways, not least because it has helped me see others in an all-new light.  

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Immersion Stories: Radha Pala

As a student of nursing awaiting graduation, I undertook the Drishtee immersion program. It gave a unique opportunity to apply skills taught during my degree in a community-based setting, with the added benefit of connecting more with my parent’s homeland, India. This is where I was fortunate to meet Usha ji, an amazing, inspiring woman passionate about education, early childhood health hygiene and positive community development in general. This is her story.

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Immersion Mosaic: Student experience perspectives

India, with it's overload of mega-cities, intoxicating scents, explosions of colour hits you like a steam train, from the moment you leave the airport.  In the ensuing 21 days as a part of a true Immersion, the sensory overload continues unabated. Often, it's not until returning to the familiar surrounds of home that our mind has a chance to catch-up with India's imprint. And so, we asked some of our recent student participants to share a soundbite from their experience. Together these represent a mosaic of colour, inspiration and lasting transformation. 

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Immersion Stories: Ellen Law

Through UTS BUiLD, I participated in the Drishtee Immersion Program (February 2018). The program facilitates empowering immersive experiences in rural India.... My Drishtee immersion was raw, deeply humbling and inspiring. The incredible people I met helped me learn and discover more about myself and what I would like to accomplish in the future. In the following blog I describe the a personal experience in three phases.

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Immersion Stories: Rhojan Viloria

My experience of India throughout my three-week program with Drishtee Immersion was – trying not to exaggerate – almost indescribable. Whether it was the team I met up with at the airport, the people we learned more about during our journey, to simply the culture of India itself. From the differing cultural norms, the stories and experiences you would hear that can break your heart, or just the environment. But without this challenge, I wouldn’t be where I am now, a much stronger mentally and emotionally prepared person with the clear understanding of what true empathy can bring...

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Immersion Stories: Michael Fu #2

"Sudam" is a story written by Drishtee Immersion, Michael Fu on a recent Maharashtra program. It seeks to capture the essence of Michael's time with his village partner, Sudam... "It’s currently the evening, rain pours heavily outside but this will not be for long. Monsoon season is near an end and Sudam had only just arrived home, worn from another busy day of getting drenched but with fruitful harvests...." 

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Immersion Stories: Belinda Tang

In my broken Marathi, I accidentally called her very pretty and her face broke into a smile. Sun-dried creases were transformed into laughter. I corrected my mistake (I’d meant to compliment her dress) and her smile faded from her eyes. Frustration simmered inside of me – I’d hurt her feelings because of some silly language barriers. Later though, I would spot her from the corner of my eye checking her reflection in a small, hand held mirror...  This is Tokobai's story, as experienced during my days spent experiencing daily life with this most inspiring woman.

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Immersion Stories: Michael Fu

It was a cold morning, morning dew drips from the trees and grass in the small village nestled in the mountains of Maharashtra’s Western Ghats. Ashulk, a sixty-five year old grandfather, who works in the local flour mill, makes his way down from a village located at the top of the mountains. Fourty years of this routine, yet each day the kiss of the morning sun reminds him of why he keeps coming back. 

See current opportunities for university students with our India Immersion programs here! 

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Immersion Stories: Iain McKelvey

I saw a snapshot of your people standing in New Delhi Railway Station, each of your trains seemingly enchanted shooting mysteries in every direction. The rolling carriages sung me your lullaby of sleep, while your sunlight enveloped my being to wake me in Bihar, the beginning of the North East. Some call this area forgotten; a crisp morning in Patna reveals a hidden fragility masked by the orchestration of horns. 6am, the meet and greet.

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