Stories from Our team
Early last Sunday morning I got a call from Chilaw from an unknown number. When I answered it, I recognized it was one of our former participants from a shelter. She said she wanted to tell me a nice story related to our Life Skills classes. She had recently returned home after living in a shelter we work in. When she got home, her mother, aunt and grandmother were whispering about a big problem, but nobody would tell her about it. She got very upset thinking they were whispering about or against her. Finally, she decided to ask her mother. Her mother told her that it was an adult problem and she should be not worry about it. She was happy that it wasn’t about her but she was still so curious to know what was wrong. She then went to her aunt and asked what the problem was. Her aunt explained that she was planning to go abroad in a month, but was not sure if she was pregnant or not. She was scared to go to the hospital to check it. At this moment, our former participant became a hero… able to support the women in her family!
To protect her confidentiality, I’ll call this inspiring girl “Sonali” and will share the story she told me. “I couldn’t stop laughing,” she told me. “My aunt was surprised by my laughter and said, ‘No it’s not funny like you think. I have to go to the hospital and I really don’t like to do this at the village hospital. Since it’s a small village, everyone will know what happened. It’s especially bad for this to happen right before I go abroad.’ My mother came to the room and asked, ‘what is your reason for laughing?’ I explained to my mother and aunt that I learned at the shelter about Reproductive Health and that I had a great solution for my Aunt. They were both surprised and asked her about the solution. So I told them about a pregnancy test which they can buy from the pharmacy and explained how to use it. I also told them how accurate it is. My mother and aunt were hesitant and not sure if they could believe it. I told them that I would call the teacher who taught me Life Skills, so they could both hear it.” She had indeed called me early in the morning while I was sleeping. After our call, the mother, aunt and grandmother were so happy that Sonali knows things that she can use practically. They knew nothing about Reproductive Health. The aunt was very happy and said the pregnancy test was very easy to use, accurate, and only cost Rs.35 (about $0.35 USD). She told Sonali how stressed she had been and how better she felt after taking the exam.
Hearing from Sonali made me very happy because she has used her knowledge and has empowered others. She remembers what we have taught. I see that we are changing generations - not just those to come, but also those from before. This day was a happy day for Sonali and that’s why she called me early in the morning. I feel very happy too. And do you want to know what the result of the test was?
Well, I’ll give you a hint! - Please check the title of this blog.
Last Friday evening in the bead class I was helping a 13 year old girl to get ideas for a journal entry. The prompt was “Write about a time when you felt appreciative of what you have.” She thought for a bit and told me that she had a time to get wet in the rain. She said that she thought the rain was hers and she liked it. Then she asked me how rain drops come to us, so I explained it to her with a picture. After thinking some more, she then said she was appreciative of the sunrise too. I told her about the Solar system, Planets, Milky Way and how the day starts and ends. She was really happy to hear those answers and got more energy to ask more questions. I got to see a glimpse of her world. My favourite question came when she asked if other countries were in the sky. When I asked why she thought that way, she answered that it was because people had to take an airplane to go abroad. Wow! When I was small I also used to wonder where the other countries were. I explained everything to her in the simplest way I could. When we were discussing the problems we were laughing, writing, drawing etc. It was a big project and I loved to do it. I remember when I was small and a famous singer passed away. (H.R. Jothipala). I saw his funeral on the TV, however after his death his voice always on the radio. I asked my mother how that was possible and she explained to me, but I didn’t trust her.
My father then got a radio cassette, recorded my voice and he asked me to listen to that. He explained the concept to me very well. At the time I didn’t trust my mother’s word. Now I understand that it is difficult to explain things to kids. I am happy that these girls trust our words. They have no doubts. When I think of that, I feel that it is the biggest achievement I have done in my life. It has not been easy. The girl that I had the discussion with is normally very stubborn. But when I spoke with her she loved the butterflies, loved the rain and loved the sun. She got wet by the rain and got scolded by the matron. She is so sweet. She is like a bird; very free. I got to see into her world and it was nice. I would love to do it again.
SAVINGS ACCOUNT FOR THE BABY!
One of our past participants, who is now married and has a child, called me for some information. She told me that she has a wonderful married life with her husband and baby. She told me that they were somehow managing with the money that her husband made, so she wanted to put the savings that she had in her Emerge account into an account for her child’s future. She was responsibly planning for her child’s future!