I'm working for HELP International as a Country Director in Hyderabad, India from May-August 2010.

May 26, 2010

We were able to go to the golconda fort and the seven tombs on Saturday. The fort was built in the late 1500's and finished around 1600 to protect the Sultanate from Moghul invaders. It has this really amazing architecture with these tricks where you can clap from the bottom "hidden" entrance and the clap can be heard hundreds of feet away in the Kings quarters.
Their guards had to one handedly pick up this 200 lb brick. I was really close.

There are queens quarters as well, one main queen and 365 concubines. We had a debate on if that was okay or not and conceded that I guess if you are hooked up everyday and only have to work one day a year, that you might be better off being one of the concubines than not.

there was a diamond trade within the fort with one of the biggest worlds diamonds, the Koohinor Diamond coming from this fort area. There is also a huge tunnel/ escape route

The girls (and guys) were really popular

We then went to the Qutb Shahi dynasty tombs, or the 7 tombs. They are the rulers from around 1518-1600. The first Sultan Sultan Quli Qutb Shah was killed by his second born son who murdered him while he was saying his prayers. He then went on to blind his older brother and assumed the throne. He was remembered as being "cruel." shocking. The next ruler, Subhan Quli Qutb Shah took the throne when he was 7 years old and died that same year.
The technically third ruler was the first sultans other son Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali, who ran away when the younger son went ballistic and murdered their father and blinded their other brother. He came back and was a more kind person and cared about the people he served over.
The last ruler, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, sounds like he was the most benevolent.

It was a lot of fun. We have also talked to a bunch of organizations. Here are some potential projects we are looking into doing some work on.

* Prajwala we are looking into doing some project (s) together with their organization. We aren't sure exactly what yet but are potentially looking at coming up with a packet for people abroad who want to get involved with the organization. If you search on TED, you'll also find a really powerful lecture by the founder.
* CARPED we are looking at a few projects with CARPED. They are in the planning stages of building a community science center in a rural area called Kowdipally to cater to the tribal people. There is a high drop out rate in students and the classroom is very boring, so they want to try to get funding and make it a great location for people to come, make learning fun, and maybe provide some skills trainings. We are looking at potentially writing a grant with Architecture for Humanity.
* We are also going tomorrow morning to a the village that CARPED works in to potentially narrow down a project that we want to put on tipping bucket through engineers without borders. Either a water purification system, a fuel brickettes out of organic wastes, or a solar powered lantern system in the village. We'll keep you posted.
* We are working on the garden here, are planning to put a community garden on CARPED's land, and are hoping to come up with a social business with urban gardens in people's homes.
* Student Social entrepreneurship club. We are looking into trying to start a social entrepreneurship network of students here in Hyderabad.
* Beggars: we are looking into getting some small snack and a paper with contact information for places they can go to get off the street when we are approached by beggars.
* We are going to work with AISEC, a student group that does a lot of different projects starting june 1.
* We are planning to meet with The Rescue foundation next week and the MV foundation on Thursday. They also work with rescued trafficked victims.

India is such an interesting place. I really like it more and more everyday. It’s so grungy and can be abrasive, but there is something magical about this place as well. It’s hard to explain.


  1. well i obviously love you more than anyone else because i am the first to comment :). it sounds like you are staying super busy and doing a lot of amazing things! i wish i was there with you! and we need to figure out a better way to communitcate!

  2. oh whatever shannon! anyways, your pictures as so amazing and i am jealous about all you are experiencing. can't wait to hear more about your projects!