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The empty bowl represents the endless potential that emerges when we open ourselves to new questions, new ideas, and new relationships. For us, this openness is both a method and a product: rather than promote any single cure for the world's ills, we hold open a space that can amplify local voices and facilitate the sharing of multiple perspectives. We hope that the diverse members of our educational community will find humility through the recognition of their own interconnectedness, and that this humility will guide their actions as informed global citizens.
Omprakash emerged as an organic response to a basic problem that its founders first noticed while volunteering in India in 2004: a shortage of cross-cultural communication and collaboration. Since many grassroots schools and social welfare projects are unable to represent themselves to a global audience, they cannot share best practices and recruit supporters. This same lack of representation hinders opportunities for volunteers, donors, and students around the world to learn how those inspiring individuals and organizations identify and address local issues.
While volunteering at a hospice center where six nuns care for three-hundred physically and mentally disabled residents, the co-founders met Omprakash: a partially paralyzed gentleman who had been living at the center ever since suffering a stroke thirty years earlier. The conditions at the center were far from what most people would call ideal, but Omprakash said that he felt like he lived in paradise, simply because the nuns treated him with such kindness. This comment shed light on the extent to which simple human relationships can be a force for positive change, and our work has evolved out of an appreciation for this point.