American employees from the U.S. Consulate spent the day volunteering at local NGOs to participate in the National Day of Remembrance and Service. Ambassador Nancy Powell called upon all Americans at U.S. missions in India to spend the day in remembrance of the victims of September 11th.
Volunteers spent time at Freeset, Sari Bari, and Terra Indica. “I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time talking and working with the young men at Terra Indica,” said Consul General Helen LaFave, who participated in the event. “This is a great way for me to experience more of Kolkata while we take the time to remember and honor the victims of September 11th in a positive way.”
Throughout the day, volunteers visited the local NGOs and social enterprises to help with projects and interact with the community. At Freeset, volunteers helped with a sanding project and worked with the women to prepare their products such as bags and t-shirts for sale. At Sari Bari, volunteers helped to clear out a new space the organization will use to expand production and employ more women, and helped prepare their products such as blankets and bags for shipping. At Terra Indica, volunteers provided a lesson and practice with English conversation and learned the basics of wood working.
“We all live such fast-paced, busy lives that it’s nice to slow down and spend a day in remembrance,” said Assistant Public Affairs Officer Rachel Sunden, who spent the day working at Freeset and Terra Indica. “To do so by giving back to a community that has embraced us with open arms is a wonderful way to pay tribute to the victims of September 11th.”
Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009 though people have been honoring this day through service since 2002. Participants from all 50 states of America as well as around the world unite in service today in the same way that so many came together following the September 11th attacks.