by SS Sat Tara Kaur Khalsa, Boulder CO
2022 (Third Quarter)
Many years ago, I “accidentally” put together a consortium of international aid organizations. It started with a lunch date for two women whom I wanted to introduce to each other, and it eventually grew to over 100 members. We met monthly for about five years—to share an Indian buffet and to hear informative and inspiring presentations, do fundraisers, support each other, and connect as women both personally and professionally.
It was really fun, deeply moving, and very easy to do. I’d like to tell you about it in case you would like to consider doing something similar in your community. It didn’t cost anything to do this and it didn’t take much time. There were no membership fees, and each attendee paid $15 for her own lunch. So, there was no bookkeeping involved. I made the reservations at the restaurant, chose the presenters, and announced the meetings by e-mail. Typically, about 20 women attended each meeting. I also shared announcements of members via e-mail between meetings. Membership was by invitation only, with the criterion of involvement in international work.
To give you an idea of the scope of our activities, here are just a few examples of the awesome presenters:
- A Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
- A Kenyan woman who runs an orphanage. [We did a fundraiser for her.]
- The founder of Engineers Without Borders, an organization that has brought clean water to millions of people in remote areas.
- A woman who taught trauma therapy to health care providers in Kosovo.
- A woman who grew up in Afghanistan and collected one million packets of seeds to send over.
- The founder of the “Unreasonable Institute,” an organization that helps creative and socially conscious entrepreneurs obtain funding.
- A woman who created a successful business selling handicrafts from impoverished women in developing nations.
- An American woman who married a Burmese prince and later helped refugees as they fled the country.
- The director of an international mediation provider.
- A Harvard-educated climate activist.
- Someone working against Female Genital Mutilation.
- The founder of Mothers Acting Up, that works for the health and safety of children through performance art.
- A psychiatrist specializing in the clinical implications of trauma.
- A Christian pastor working to free modern-day slaves.
- The founder of a successful micro-credit loan program for women in Guatemala.
- The community leader of a small village in Mali, with the great name of Yay! [Another fundraiser.]
The list goes on…
Members would offer suggestions for new presenters—so it was easy to find great presenters.
Can you imagine how interesting and inspiring this was? Here are some comments from attendees:
“Weren’t these women amazing—where they’ve gone, what they have seen and touched and loved and given??!!! I drank in their creative goodness.”
“I thought the meeting was great!! I so appreciate gathering with the women . . . so many bright and wonderful and positively-focused ones . . . this is what it takes to change the world and we are well on the way.”
Women working internationally was my passion. What is yours? You could put together a group around other interests such as: preventing teen drug use, reducing school bullying, artistic expressions that change society, helping victims of domestic violence, raising the consciousness of your community, improving conditions in prisons, civil rights, etc. If you’d like to create something like this in your town, I’d be happy to brainstorm with you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SS Sat Tara Kaur Khalsa became an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister in 1981. After studying Comparative Religion at Smith College, and exploring various spiritual paths for five years, it was “love at first breath” at her first Kundalini Yoga class in 1972. She was the first employee of the Kundalini Research Institute before returning to school to get her Master’s Degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. She was co-director of 3HO of Illinois, organized 10 White Tantric Yoga courses in Chicago, and taught Kundalini Yoga for 32 years. Sat Tara Kaur serves as the Sikh Dharma of Colorado community liaison. She works part-time as a licensed psychotherapist specializing in psychological/spiritual approaches to releasing traumatic experiences and serving as a consultant and expert witness in divorce cases and immigration cases. She has produced four CDs for self-therapy and is the author of “Divorce Survival and Recovery.” She founded and served for five years as the director of Women’s Global Forum, a consortium of over 100 international organizations dedicated to helping women in creative ways. Her website is SatTaraTherapy.com. She is married and has two grown children.