17 01, 2018

BLOG ~ January 2018 Delhi, India


When I arrived at the Hope Project Charitable Trust this year, I was greeted by so many friends and associates. I found out from them about the amazing progress going on in the TSP/Hope​ Partnership Programs.

           Zuleikha/TSP with Hope Project Director Samiur Rahman and TSP Facilitators

The three Facilitators I have trained are working inside of Hope’s designated areas of Education, Livelihood, and Health.

Parveen covers different neighborhoods inside and outside Nizamuddin Basti area and laughs with her women’s groups as she shows them how self-care exercises bring stress relief and joy in that very moment. She also works with women inside of the health clinic, when situations call for self-care.

Shaheen loves seeing the teenage girls find confidence and courage in their bodies after engaging every day in the self-care exercises (in what is called the Girls’ Nonformal School). She also brings the self-care program to the Kindergarten and Support classes.

Zeyba inspires the women who are working inside of the thrift and credit Self Help Groups. There are at least 80 groups with 12-15 in women in each group. She visits other women’s organizations in the area and leads the Vocational Training groups as well.

Hira is overseeing all of this, as a part of her Administrative Assistant position in the Hope Project. She brings clarity and humor. And the Director of Hope, Samiur Rahman, is always showing me something new and brainstorming with me about how to make it all work.

Hope Project facilitator Zeyba leading TSP self-care exercises

The TSP programs have been going on year after year inside this Nizamuddin Basti area. I have worked so hard learning different ways to communicate with the people of Hope and the community, doing exercises, sitting with women in burkas, hanging out with street kids, making jokes about the body in my “baby Hindi language” with teenage girls, drinking tea with everyone, and it is all coming into perspective. Now when I am out walking in the Basti often I am stopped by women and girls I don’t know, who look at me and say, “Zuleikha, Exercise?” Zeyba says she also is having this same unusual experience. This way of helping the women learn about stretching is really working. Now they know this is a real thing. Isn’t that amazing!

Hope Project Cutting and Tailoring Program

Many of the women who are in the Vocational Cutting and Tailoring Livelihood program have sore backs and necks, from bending over the cutting table or sewing machine. They actually like the Self-Care exercises, once we start, yet the idea of doing them is, like in all countries met with “I don’t have time” or “I don’t feel well today.” Somehow the teachers and TSP facilitators are taking this program so seriously that they not only encourage the young women to join, they tell them “it is time, let’s go!” And so everyone comes along to the library, and we all end up laughing and enjoying it.

I am so touched, pleased, and in awe that something I feel so strongly about is now being carried by others. Most cool and wonderful.


©Swan Lake Publishing LLC

9 01, 2018

BLOG ~ January 2018 Delhi, India

Going out with a CanSupport Home Care Team in Delhi, India

Today, I began my work with the Home Care teams by accompanying the team with a counselor of CanSupport whom I have trained. I went with her team which that day was the counselor, a nurse, myself, and a driver. Sometimes an area has two teams with one doctor, so if that is the case, the doctor regularly goes between the two teams. Before we left the office, they insisted I have tea with the teams, and I met the new doctor in their area. There are over 20 teams in Delhi, each palliative care team has a doctor, nurse, trained counselor, and driver. The new doctor is very interested in my work, and seemed to have a quick understanding of what it brings to the patients.


Zuleikha with a patient


A nurse and a counselor

“So, what you’re actually doing is refocusing the attention on their energy, rather than the pain.”

Later, the trained counselor said, “this Relaxation Therapy [that’s what everyone calls RTHEP©] is bringing insight to care. It is not exactly working on the body, it works on what is going on inside us…not exactly our body. It works on the insight in our mind, and it brings a great feeling.”

I’m very glad to be back in Delhi doing this work. I remember there are about 20 million people in the city of Delhi. We work with a lot of lower income people. I have gone out with many teams so many times, and now I notice that we are all getting more comfortable with each other, and more comfortable bringing my work into each team for the patients. It turns out that the counselors do in fact use the exercises with the patients. This is very good news!

With one patient, we did what the counselors now call “the Shanti exercise.” This is  an exercise which I originally developed for parents living with the stress of taking care of their children living with cancer. Shanti means ‘Peace.’  They call it this, because people feel a peaceful feeling after they do it. This is what I tell many patients, in my simple Hindi: “it is a way of saying ‘hello to my mind,’ ‘hello to my inside quiet,’ ‘I care for you, my self,’ and ‘my heart, I feel you.’ ”

Today we saw four patients. These are palliative cancer patients, meaning they are living with their cancer, in the best ways they can, and most, in poor conditions. “Four is not so many,” some might say. Well, one was not at home, though the appointment had been made. And then we had to get to the other places, driving down the crowded roads or lanes, as the case may be, then walk for a while to each house, then drive to another. It all takes time. These actual visits took up the better part of the day. Hours. This is part of what is so great, each patient getting seen by a whole team, such care, such care.

I am in India. It is a wonderful place to try these modalities—it is a place where often “things” don’t work and yet the connection between people and this way of teaching does.

Seeing these patients and their stress from going through such terrible illness and treatment, and then seeing the patient and their family have a moment or two of relaxation, calm, and some laughter—makes me think, ‘yes’ this is a good way to serve.

It was a great day.


2018 © Swan Lake Publishing LLC