Connecting local responses around the world
Recently, we facilitated an introductory session with 11 girls aged 17-19 years who attend after-school English and computer classes at Saathi Centre, Institute of Social Studies Trust in Delhi, India. Ivanka, Kanika and Sneha were my co-facilitators. The project aims to build an enabling environment for the girls in a neighbourhood in Delhi. We are at step one of Community life competence process- Who are we? We began with a SALT meeting with the girls with an aim to appreciate what they have done. Appreciation do? ( with quotes from the girls and co-facilitators)
1. Appreciation builds belief in oneself and others
"if she could do it, I too could do it. We seemed to be in a similar situation.”
“ Listening to how others have addressed challenges, has given me a lot of motivation to do more.”
“We often do many good things in our life, but get busy in our life. Today when the memory was refreshed, I realized how much I have achieved in my life.”
"I have been meeting the girls for past one month.Today I am astonished to discover so many new strengths in them." Ivanka
2. Sharing stories of positive action reveal strengths, build a bond and create a connection
“ stories of other girls made me realize that I too have a similar story."
“ Had to drop out of school but now want to go back to studies. I do not seem to have confidence in myself. Where do I go and tell this? But here I can speak. I need help from you all."
3. When you listen attentively,you value what he or she is sharing “As girls relaxed more into the conversation, they were able to communicate with more ease and opened up.” Sneha
"In the meeting, I was scared in the beginning but now that there is a connection I felt I could say anything.”
“ Initially, I was scared in the meeting and then I was too shy to share my story in front of others. But now after the meeting, I want to be a part of this process.”
"Please come soon. I did not share my story in the meeting but I want to be a part of this process."
Am grateful to Saathi Centre students for opening up their hearts and welcoming us into their lives. This group of girls would like to use CLCP to work collectively on what they aspire for themselves and for their community. I conclude with the wise words of my teammate Kanika “We cannot solely focus on the girls and put the burden on them to take responsibility of the community. It has to be a community-led response.”
To conclude, we will provide the adolescent girls with an opportunity to explore their hopes, celebrate their social identity and address their concerns through a community-led CLCP. Citing Malekoff (2014) Focus on the whole person and recognise their social context. Rather than focusing on the “broken” part of participants, strengths-based groups focus on the whole person (Malekoff, A. (2014). Group Work with Adolescents: Principles and Practice(3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications.)