The boundless resources in the community

Communities have the strength, the commitment and the resources to make an effective HIV responses. Communities can mobilize not just material resources, they can also give the invaluable resource of their time, and their concern for the affected people.

In a village in Koppal district, Rajamma, was a HIV positive woman, living in poverty. With the assistance of a developmental initiative, she had been able to put up a temporary structure covered by some sheets, for living, but her dwelling was very temporary, and could be blown away with wind or rain. At this point, the other woman in the community came to her aid. They fortified the structure with whatever materials they could mobilize within the community. There was a need for some cement for the floors. When Samraksha organized a meeting of the village elders, and spoke about the plight of the woman and her needs, one person agreed to contribute the cement, another volunteered to plaster the floor.

Thus, her house was built on whatever resources the communities could mobilize. Also, equally important, the village women were willing to give their time, to build her house, to visit her often, get her involved with the village life, who made a great difference for her.

Ramappa, a young man from another village in Koppal, was devastated after hearing about his HIV diagnosis. His health picked up after visits to the hospital, but emotionally he was very disturbed. His friends, other young men in the community were very concerned about him. He had always been active socially in the village, but now he shunned all company. His friends tried to get him involved, but could not do it. They then thought that if he had some useful occupation to do during the day, he would start feeling better. There were discussions with him and his family, about what work he could do. He expressed an interest in running a paan shop (betel leaves shop, very popular point in the vllage). A relative offered to support him with the initial expenditure for the shop, his friends helped him with the work involved in setting up the shop. Now he is running the shop, and his friends continue to support him. They help around with the shop, man it in his absence. They also continue to ensure he is socially involved in the community. He frequently goes out to the fields with them, is involved in the village games, and gradually getting back to the kind of life he used to enjoy.

In both instances, the village communities had been involved with Samraksha's perspective building process, this helped them to understand the situation of these people, and in their own way, plan a response to support them, based on an understanding of their strengths and capacities.

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Comment by Divya Sarma on August 6, 2010 at 2:14pm
Gaston, to respond to your question, the perspective building is a set of flexible processes, stretching over 3 to 5 days. A team of community catalysts live in a village community, and interact with all the groups in the village. Using various participatory methodologies, they open up spaces for reflection and discussion on the issue of HIV, sex and sexuality. There is opportunity for dialogue, questioning and clarifications. Towards the end of the process communities make a public commitment on what they will do to respond to the HIV epidemic in their community.
Comment by Gaston on August 5, 2010 at 7:37am
Good illustrations Hanumesh that show the capacity for change within the community. Can you share a bit more about the perspective building process? I am particularly interested in this methodology.

Thank you.
Comment by Bobby Zachariah on August 4, 2010 at 11:09am
Dear Hanumesh,

What an inspirational story of care leading to expanding circles of change !

The role of Samraksha in 'perspective building' process is something to learn from. The Salvation Army used to make it a part of the 'community counseling' process. Though language used may be different, similar principles are under operation.

Thanks for the sharing.



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