Clara Kollm

Clara Kollm (Chintan Environmental Action and Research Group - Chintan): During her undergraduate study, Clara worked abroad in Thailand and travelled widely in Southeast Asia. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. While at UMD, Clara also completed a minor in International Development and Conflict Management and a certificate in Public Leadership. She also interned in Washington D.C. with a non-profit environmental law firm, Earthjustice. After her fellowship Clara wrote: "Being in India and learning about an international NGO is invaluable to me and my education. This experience ...has given me a greater appreciation for the human condition. This was my first experience with that level of poverty, and I predict that this experience will continue to influence my life choices.”


02 Jun

Welcome to my blog! Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about life as an Advocacy Project Peace Fellow with the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group in New Delhi, India. I will mostly explore issues that make Chintan’s work so pertinent and meaningful, but I will also throw in my general impressions of New Delhi and the occasional embarrassing anticdote. I can’t guarantee that I will be interesting, but I will have fun trying!

In case you haven’t heard me going on about Chintan, here is a brief overview. Chintan was founded in 1999 to empower individuals who earn a living off of waste. These people comprise the informal waste management sector of Delhi that is essential for the city’s day-to-day function, however they face adversity because of discrimination and poverty. Chintan seeks to legitimize their role in society and reduce this adversity by promoting their human rights, waste efficiency, and overall environmental sustainability.

This fellowship would not have become a reality without the overwhelmingly positive responses I received over the past few weeks. Thus, this first blog post is dedicated to everyone who supported me through this process, please know how grateful I am. I can’t believe I was able to reach my fund raising goal, find a place to live, and make countless contacts in the span of weeks solely based on the  knowledge and generosity of family, friends, and a few special strangers. This kindness has not been taken lightly and I would love it if you all would stay in touch – check back here for more blog entries, videos, and photos! I will work my hardest to not only have a positive fellowship experience, but also to do good while I am here.

The issues central to this fellowship are new to me so please feel free to comment, share your insight, ask questions, or start a dialogue so we can embark on this journey together. If this issue is also new to you, these resources may be helpful, Chintan’s website and blogs from previous fellows Ted Mathys, Jacqui KotyokPaul Colombini and Mackenzie Berg.

I will be leaving for India in 24 hours and I couldn’t be more excited. Not much more to say now – just finalizing everything, pre-departure jitters, and remembering to do one task at a time. Will post back soon!

Posted By Clara Kollm

Posted Jun 2nd, 2011


  • Karie

    June 2, 2011


    Good luck this summer, Clara! I’ll be following along and seeing India vicariously through you. 🙂

  • Cat

    June 3, 2011


    Yes Best of Luck Clara! I’m looking forward to reading up on your time in India, what an experience!!

  • mary kollm

    June 28, 2011


    Dear Clara:
    I am just checking your Blog to see if there is any new news but I don’t see any.Weather here very hot in the middle 90’s and no rain.I hope you are seeing a lot of India, so you cantell us all about it. Take care,love
    Grandma Kollm

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