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Reader’s Corner: With Jo Chopra

Posted: August 15, 2012

“Eclectic, interesting…will fill you with hope and resolve!” – Pick up our new short story collection, Women.Mutiny

Reader’s Corner looks at the contemporary urban woman in India, through the lens of a Women’s Web reader in each interview.

Jo Chopra of the Latika Roy Foundation was feted earlier this year as one of CNN IBN’s Real Heroes for her remarkable work towards the education of children with special needs. She was also the winner of our recently concluded I Stood Up Blogathon. Check out Jo’s blog for some heart-warming reads or listen to her TED talk.

Hi Jo! Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a writer by profession; a former criminal (peace movement activist jailed on a dozen occasions for political demonstrations in the US); a mother of three; an American married to an Indian. I’m fluent in Hindi, I’m the founder and director of a voluntary organization for people with disability, I trained as a lay midwife and I love public speaking, opera, photography, reading, cooking and wine.

My passion – and the reason I was born – is to make disability just another interesting aspect of a full and productive life. My youngest daughter’s disability catapulted me into a world I had never known about and I am so much richer for it.

Do you have any life goals for yourself or anything that you think your life must include?

I’d like to write another book, learn how to juggle, become a better photographer and develop really good management skills.

I want to stay as close to my family as I am right now (I have the most wonderful family!).

How far along would you say you are in achieving these? What would you love to have/achieve that you don’t yet have? 

Little by little, I’m getting there! I don’t want anything I don’t already have.

Is your life today as you imagined it would be 5 years ago? If no, how is it different? Where do you want to be 5 years from now?

Impulsiveness is one of my trademarks so planning the future and imagining how it will be has never been a strength nor an interest. I tend to go with the flow – always happy, often surprised.

Do you believe that being a woman has made a difference to your choices and your life? 

Being a woman isn’t something I think about separately from being myself. I am where I am because of who I am. Part of that identity is being a woman.

Tell us one thing that you like about Women’s Web and one thing you think we could do better!

I love the range and the variety! You provide glimpses of  so many wonderful ideas and endeavours and somehow you make them all sparkle. One thing you could do better? Do more of the same. But for that, you might have to give up sleeping. So don’t!

Thanks a lot Jo!

*Photo credit: Jo Chopra.

Previous Reader’s Corner Interviews:

Prathama Raghavan

Chandrima Pal

Rinzu Rajan

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