Sangita Kulathinal's interview appeared in Kehitys-lehti (page 24, 3.2008)

(English translation)

March 2008

This is an English translation of Sangita Kulathinal's interview appeared in Kehitys-lehti.

Home in two countries

Sangita Kulathinal, PhD, invests her savings from Finland in development of her home country.

Sangita Kulathinal, 39, a statistician from India, had no plans to leave India. However, in the autumn of 1996 she decided to accept an invitation from a Finnish professor and came to work at the University of Helsinki as a post-doctoral research fellow.

"When I first came to Finland I arrived on a dark, rainy day and was wondering where all the people were", she desrcibes her experience.

The Finnish academic world welcomed her here and in the course of years she has worked in the pharmaceutical company Leiras and also at the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki. Now she works as a docent (Adjunct professor) at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Helsinki.

"I have never looked for a new job here, and plan to settle down in India", she says.

Every now and then Sangita and her husband, Bijoy Joseph, a hydrogeologist, have stayed also in India for long periods. Bijoy works in Finland, and they both have permanent residence permits in Finland and feel that they have home in two countries. They also have decided not to have children of their own.

In autumn they will again travel to India, to spend a few months in their home town Nashik, in Maharashtra. One reason for their journey is the voluntary organisation, INSEED (Indic Society for Education and Development), which they established a few years ago from their own savings.

"I want to give back to India whatever I have learned from my studies and travels. One of the ways to do this is to work through a voluntary organisation, together with congenial people", she says.

In Nashik, INSEED has arranged education for slum children and childen of migrant workers and established an activity centre where children have a library and a play area of their own. Sangita had got this idea from Finnish libraries. INSEED also takes inspiration from Finland for its hygiene and recycling programmes.

"I know that our colleagues and relatives consider us a bit crazy - and yet, in their own ways, respect our work" says Sangita.

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