Christine Boegemann spent four weeks in Dhrangadhra, a medieval city in the Surendranagar district of Gujarat, India. She resided in the Ajit Nivas Palace Compound with 11 other students and learned about the social dynamics between people of different castes through her interactions with the staff in the palace and those she encountered in the town and nearby villages. Her experience provided her with a unique opportunity to observe what influence a royal family has in a state in which they have served as a figurehead since the end of their rule in the 1940s. She spent much of her time out of the palace filming different assignments, one of which was an exploration of local temples, prayer rituals, and the roles of different goddesses in Hinduism. Her main project was one she completed with a grad student who studies social work at Temple University and two women that live in Dhrangadhra and served as translators for the project. The two women from Dhrangadhra are currently working to start up an NGO that would provide financial support to women who do different types of craftwork, so that they may be able to gain greater economic security and growth from their work by expanding their business practices. Alongside her peer Temple University student, Christine recorded numerous interviews with different local craft workers – the vast majority of which were women – to examine what work they do and how it empowers them in terms of their perceived self-worth. She is grateful that she was able to see several beautiful temples and visit the Taj Mahal during her stay, but she is most grateful for the amazing people she bonded with in Dhrangadhra. She hopes to turn her archived footage into a user immersive multimedia website so that others can hear the stories of the women she met and come together to support such women in their educational and career-oriented dreams.
CEE Title: Areas of Neglect: Addressing Community Needs at Home and Abroad
Christine helped design the event Areas of Neglect: Addressing Community Needs at Home and Abroad for her CEE which focused on education, poverty, and healthcare discrepancies in Argentina, India, and Philadelphia. She and her teammates discussed volunteer opportunities available to local community members through the use of a multimedia presentation, a panel discussion, and an informational “mix-and-mingle” with local non-profit organizations.