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On the spot improvisation of SALT with children

Before the session started Mr Autry Haynes approached me and asked what were these 5 children doing. They were the children, nephews and grandchildren under 10 years of age of the women coming for SALT and they would be spending the next one and a half hour drawing all by themselves. My Haynes suggested that along with my friend, Jessinee, we improvise a session with the children.

We started the session asking the children, “What are you proud of?” and the answers were many, my love for animals, the dress my father gave me, I’m a good football player, my friends, my school, my country and the trees and beach of my village. The children had difficulty identifying with the feeling of pride surely due to the absence of ego. I noticed that for them being proud had more to do with the simple things that made them happy.

The second question asked was, “Do you have a dream?” and they were quick to respond and the answers were, I want to become a pilot and travel the world, a veterinary and save animals, a doctor and heal people or a cook and have my own restaurant

Throughout the session their dreams were clear and they did not have to reflect much to seek the right answer. In addition when i asked them what must they do to achieve their dreams they were unanimous, "Go to school". They were very keen to share their ideas with their peers.

Afterwards the mothers were curious to learn of the outcome of the session and after I did an “exposé” to them, they were deeply touched by the activity carried out and someone said,

“Sometimes we as adults we think only of our dreams and we tend to forget that our children also have dreams. And these dreams deserve that we as parents empower our children towards making them come true”

Another woman shared the story of her son whose dream was to become a chef but unluckily dropped out of school at an early age. She thought that her son would never achieve his dream so he used to accompany her as she worked as a helper in a restaurant. He used to assist her in her tasks. One day the restaurant was to be relocated and the owner decided to take him as an apprentice and today he is a well-established chef in five start hotel.

I concluded that adopting the SALT approach with children is easier as they  hold no barriers such as fears or pre conceived ideas towards their dream. If we are able to add a pinch of SALT as and when in the lives of these children by doing SALT follow ups we will be able to keep the fire of their motivation and creativity alive so as they grow up as committed and fearless individuals who will strive to reach their dreams.

Adopting a holistic approach to SALT so as to tailor made the program to each group is primordial to effectively touch the lives of people. Furthermore, it is essential to have a degree of flexibility and open mindedness so as anytime as SALT facilitators we can improvise an action that however small or insignificant it may seem will bring an individual closer to his dream. 

This simple initiative taken by us proved fruitful at different levels. Firstly, it lead those mothers and grandmothers to share their own personal experiences and express their fears and doubts concerning child raising. We witnessed the older generation empowering the younger generation of mothers and there was a real sense of sharing among them. Secondly,  this lead the women to become aware of the role they themselves play in the lives of their children as nurturers of their children's dreams. They realized that as beneficiaries of SALT along with their children, they are bringers of change and this can lead their families towards their common dream that of a conducive home environment and a happy family life where there is peace and joy.



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Comment by Yumilah Govinden on November 11, 2016 at 1:01am

Dear Phil,

Thank you very much for reading me and showing your appreciation. Yes, i too believe that dreams are "something wonderful and powerful" that should not be looked down on because the beautiful dream of a common man can blossom and  change the life of the people around him for the best. The future is but a dream we walk to...

I hope to share many such stories with the community as i pave my SALTy way:-)

Comment by Phil on November 10, 2016 at 9:22pm

Dear Yumilah,

That is a lovely story. I like the way in which you are seeing the influence of the dream spread from the children to their mothers and to their grandmothers. And from there it can and will spread in all sorts of directions. 

Once upon a time, I felt sad that we could not understand the full impact of a dream. But now I simply accept it as something wonderful and powerful. And just occasionally you come across somebody practising SALT in a very surprising place because of an event just like the one you describe. 

Thank you for telling the story. 

Comment by Yumilah Govinden on November 2, 2016 at 3:47am

Thank you. Indeed, children when empowered and valorised are spot on about the issues that need to be resolved in their communities. They can even initiate the awareness in adults and lead them to take ownership of the actions required to eliminate  these issues.

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 1, 2016 at 10:10pm

This is a great example of dream building with children. Recently in Chhattisgarh ( India) we asked the children during a SALT visit what was their dream. One said that he wanted to be a doctor because there is doctor in the village and his grandmother was ill and could not be saved. Another one said that he wanted to be a police officer to shut down the local liquor being produced in his village. Their dreams gave us an insight of the issues in their village. Yes we should not overlook the dreams of the children. 

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