Connecting local responses around the world
Society may regard the trans-gender, sex workers, men having sex with men as outcast but a group of 28, recently had the privilege to visit these communities, have unearthed gems and many were touched and transformed in the process. “Respect, resilience, resourceful, honor, sacrifice for common good of others” is strength we identified at the recent International Salt Visits at Yogyakarta.
We would never think we could learn so much by simply being present to them, listening, appreciating, understanding their struggles. Before we set off for the visits, the team was introduced to the “Are we Human” exercise, to reflect the meaning of being human to one another. This simple, yet powerful exercise has set the tone for the entire SALT visits and we were reminded to “do to others what you would like others do to you”, without social status dividing us.
Being raised in a meritocracy society, many will acknowledge that the educated are consider “better” human persons than those least educated and as such, they are more capable in many aspects - work and personal life. As a community worker, I am often seen as an professional service provider, providing solutions to family problems. I struggle with the question often asked by families “What can you do for me?” as I don’t always have any solution for them.
Being personally present to witness how the community has transformed during the first few SALT visits in Singapore and in Yogyakarta, I found renewed passion and energy to apply what I’ve learned in my work. At the recent meetings with the community in Singapore, we did the Human exercise and was rewarded with good responses. Everyone respected and appreciated one another’s strength, and slowly the discussion was directed at how they could use their strength to support the community. This is a paradigm shift for these service users and myself as we failed to see the strength. I am truly humbled by the encounters and I am excited to see the end results, trusting and believing that “every community has the capacity and resources to resolve their own problems”.