Connecting local responses around the world
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.