The late Sheela Sengupta, Secretary and co-founder of our Indian partner Development Action Society (DAS), was sadly lost to the world on the 8/07/16. Sheela was a truly extraordinary woman.
On International Woman’s Day 2017 we asked past Indian volunteer Laura Cullen to help us remember her.
I met Sheela at a time when I was full of opinions and loud ambition. A time when I was a bit lost, but yet very determined! She influenced me in a way which was not overt, indeed there was nothing overt about her.
She was poised, graceful, reflective, patient, empathetic and quietly intelligent. All characteristics I would have identified as feminine. But I would also have considered these traits to be submissive – I don’t anymore. I can’t remember if I ever heard her speak publically, but I saw her touch the hand of someone untouchable. She led her flock from behind without a stick beacause she didn’t need one. They followed willingly – the poor, the rich, the educated and the ignorant.
When Sheila died last year I hadn’t spoken to her in a long time, but if I had the chance I would tell her that her influence has been indelible on my soul. I know she wouldn’t be interested in hearing that, she would want to know what I was doing with that influence. So Sheela, I still struggle with patientice and poise. But because of your influence I have learned to see my empathy as a strength and to embrace, and as a result I now have my own little flock!
What a lady, what a legacy.
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