Travelling has a way of opening one’s mind, especially when exploring a new place and a new culture. For Kate Bywaters, Lifestyle Coordinator at BlueCross Ruckers Hill, her passion in travelling also opened her heart during a chance visit to a café in the Himalayas.
Tucked away in the foothills of Doon Valley, about 50km from Delhi, Chhaya Café is run by Anna Ebenezer who also runs the Himalayan Tapestries which provides shelter for disadvantaged women such as single mothers and those who were abused or homeless.
Kate Bywaters in the Himalayas during her last yoga pilgrimage
A little shop was set up at the back of the café selling various unique crafts handmade by these women who were all trained by Anna herself. The crafts range from scarves to bags, pouches, clothes and many more, but what caught Kate’s eye were the exquisitely embroidered handkerchiefs.
Although Kate was on holiday as part of her annual yoga pilgrimage, the residents at Ruckers Hills were never far from her mind. When she saw the hankies, the first thought that came to her mind was that ‘our residents would love this for Mother’s Day’. Trusting her instinct, Kate decided to buy the hankies on behalf of Ruckers Hill. However, there wasn’t enough stock.
“They were short of 15 hankies but the lovely ladies offered to make more for me the next day,” said Kate. “Not wanting to rush them, I told them to post the hankies to me in Australia instead which they did.”
The hankies were well worth waiting for, as they proved to be a hit with the residents. On Mother’s Day, the residents were each presented with a beautifully wrapped hanky with a card about the origin of the gift.
“This is such a thoughtful and kind gift,” said resident Sophie. “The fact that it was carried back from India made it all the more precious.”
Another resident concurred. “They were great, lovely and thoughtful,” said resident Eileen.
The residents all love their gifts and have started using them. One of them told Kate, “You can always do with a hanky but to have a gift from India to help women in need is even better.”
Residents at Ruckers Hill love their meaningful gifts from India Find out more about BlueCross.
Nothing gives Kate more satisfaction than seeing the residents happy and knowing that she has also helped disadvantaged women really made her day.
“It continues to be very important to me to help those in need, particularly homeless women and those who have suffered domestic violence or other hardships,” said Kate. “When I discovered Chhaya Café which means ‘shelter’ in Hindi, I knew this was the perfect meaningful place to find Mother’s Day gifts for our residents. They have often expressed how they too are passionate about supporting women to have a better future.”
It was certainly a gift that tugs at the heartstrings, and as another resident Barb said, “It was a most pleasant surprise that comes with an important message.”