Lavina D'Souza is a Canossian sister from Mumbai, India. Discontinuing her studies of aeronautical sciences, she entered God's service and received a postgraduate degree in social work. Her socio-pastoral work has been with the poor in the slums of Mumbai, and the tribal groups in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. In her present ministry as the director of the social center in Mumbai, she uses rights-based approaches in community development programs. She uses her experiences with women and children in presentations at national conferences across India, and has participated in the 2019 national consultation for women religious.
When I served in a village in India, I crossed a river to reach other places. When I reached midway in the stream, I would ask myself, "Will I be able to make it to the other side?" Amid the pandemic, it looks like I am not alone in asking this question.
To live life according to the best version of one's self requires creativity. As a social center team, we have worked to enhance women's lives through workshops on creativity. We notice progress in their self-confidence and changes in their skills.
I caught the look of a migrant who was stranded in a Mumbai slum due to the lockdown. His eyes seemed to express resignation, perhaps to his plight as well as the complacency of the society around him.
Being in the presence of transgender people made something shift inside me — from fear and avoidance to a rehumanizing of my attitudes, explained in three words: revaluing, resurfacing and refinding.