The year after that she sailed for England, where she hoped to study
medicine. Ramabai found, apparently, that a greater impediment to her
own medical education in England than being female or being Indian was
the fact that she was deaf. Instead she used her time in England to
continue the study of Christianity which she had begun in India (her faith
in Hinduism had been shaken by the deaths of her parents) and had herself
and her young daughter baptised as Anglican Christians. Having
relinquished her own dreams of a medical degree, she travelled on to the
USA to attend the graduation from the Women’s Medical College in
Philadelphia of Anandibai Joshee, the first Indian woman to become a
medical doctor, who was also her distant relation.
Reform Movement: Pandita Ramabai was by now full of plans for
reforms in India, and spent much of her time in America (and briefly in
Canada) fund-raising. She took up American causes too, supporting in
print the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
and speaking at the first meeting of the International Council of Women in
1888 (a body which brought together activists from the US, Britain and
Canada). She took a course in kindergarten teaching. In America she
found the kind of democracy and the kind of women’s education that she
was looking for.
    By the end of 1888, Pandita Ramabai was back in India, where she
very soon founded her Sharada Sadan or Home for Learning. Women in
this community were taught the doctrines of Christianity, though they
were also free to continue in their Hindu beliefs. Ramabai ran into
problems in India when she was seen as part of the Christian missionary
effort, though the same perception was useful when she was raising funds
in the USA. The Sharada Sadan was only one of her many initiatives
working for the education of women (from young girls to adults) and for
security for widows.
    When famine and plague struck the central Indian provinces in the late
1890s, she turned her attention to the housing and education of famine
victims, creating a new organization for this purpose. She wrote in Hindi
and Sanskrit as well as in Marathi and English. Her travel books about
England and America interestingly reverse the conventions of the western
travel writer in the East. Her