Connecting local responses around the world
We work on the topic of Gender Equality with a social organization called Avani in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. At present, we are undertaking the SALT process in 5 villages under the Global Fund for Children project which aims to build the leadership of children, youth, and community on Gender Equality.
We decided to hold a SALT meeting with the Anganwadi Sevikas of Vashi village. But due to some things, that meeting got cancelled twice in a row, but in the end it was decided to have SALT meeting on 30 October.
A meeting was called by Avani Sanstha in Anganwadi on 30 October. There five Anganwadi workers of Vashi village had come there. They gave us only 30 minutes time but we assured them that we will not waste their precious time.
Initially, before the meeting started, Vikrant and Shahrukh had a brief chat with the Anganwadi workers about their work. After that, I (Shah Rukh) took up an activity called "Pass the Strength" with everyone. In which everyone wrote a strength of their companions, after reading which everyone liked it very much and showed a growing self-confidence in themselves.
After that SALT started. First, I gave information about SALT. Vikrant gave an example about SALT and then started the SALT process. First of all the Anganwadi workers told us about good work done in their personal life and their struggle. Tears came to everyone's eyes after hearing this. A frontline worker shared that due to a rift with her family, she could not meet them for 3 years. Though she got a job of a front-line worker and also became a mother, it was very traumatic for her. But after three years she again got back with her parents. Everyone is living well together now. In this way each story was heart-breaking but seeing the way they handled themselves in that situation, we were energized and we got to learn a lot from them. Got the power.
After listening to everyone's story, Vikrant and I told them about our SALT project, and they shared that they are excited to work with us.
In the end, we asked them what do they like. So some of them said that they like to be with children, some said that they like to cook and feed, others said that they like to be together. After this everyone was very happy that we had such a good conversation with them. One worker commented that they had expected that we would provide information on our project, but the SALT conversation was a surprise for them. They e enjoyed it a lot.
In the end, everyone told the strength of their companions and everyone got emotional after hearing the story. But everyone was also happy after hearing the story of their colleagues because they came to know how many good things are in our colleagues who work with us, how they overcame every trouble. It also showed that in every difficulty, everyone can work hard. And can face any difficulty. The meeting lasted more than two hours!
They phoned us after our visit and said, "No one has done this for us till today. For the first time, we laughed and cried so much. We love it, and we are ready to work with you, you can call us anytime."
In the next meeting, some new colleagues will be called Anganwadi workers will conduct a SALT meeting with them and also apply it with their family members.