Recently, Global Fund for Children conducted a Knowledge Fair at Avani, Kolhapur in Maharashtra. We (Faith Foundation) were one among other NGOs that were invited and for this; we had a lot of prior preparations done. And by the time we know it, it was time for us to set out.
I could not believe myself that I am getting the opportunity to travel far away from home. For both Riban and me, this was our first time travelling by flight. Belonging from a small community in a small village in Meghalaya, I feel scared but also full of curiosity and excitement. ‘I wondered! How was it going to be? It was a different place with different food, different language, culture and a different weather altogether. But all this changed when I got to know the people there. My first impression was that even though I was far from home, yet I feel like I’m home.
The three days program was full of shared learning from each other’s work. Each of us got the opportunity to facilitate a session. This made us feel like it was our program and that we had as much responsibility as the organization who hosted it. We felt a sense of belongingness and we took onus of the sessions that we had to facilitate.
My most memorable day was the second day of the program where we were able to connect with the members from the community and had the opportunity to share something about ourselves with them. Everyone get to share about their work, what they did, their thoughts and ideas, and their dreams. We went there to learn and it really had a great impact on us. This gives us more strength, ideas, confidence and the desire to work better on what we thrive for- for our children, our people, our community and ourselves.
Reflections- Evakordor Syngkli
- Through the conversation and interaction with the other organizations, I learned more about the process and the power of SALT. SALT has the power to bring people together and take community ownership.
- The Knowledge Fair helps me build positive energy in myself. I learn to have patience, confidence, hope, trust and faith in myself and in people.
- Interaction with the community is very special that I will always remember. This motivates me a lot.
- We must feel free to seek help from others in terms of difficulties, unnecessarily to feel bad about it but to learn how to support and trust each other as well.
- I also learn as an organization that we may face many challenges but these must be motivation for us to keep on working on certain issues that we aim.
Reflections- Ribansing Nongbsap
I learnt the power of SALT that it can bring people together and can help in facilitating community ownership. I also learnt that as an Organization we face many challenges but they do not deter us from working enthusiastically towards bringing about a change.
The Knowledge Fair was a platform for the Organizations to share their work and their grassroots experiences. It created a space for shared learnings from individuals, organizations and the community. What was amazing for me to see was when men shared their dreams for their own village. They are actively involving in creating a dream where they talk about gender equality, equal opportunity for both boys and girls; accessibility to good health care. Such was the courage and passion of each one of the participants.
It was also inspiring to see how children are taking active part in raising awareness about the social issues that exists in their villages through a Play. What struck me was that towards the end of the play, the children asked the men and the women if they will support them in bringing this change and that was so powerful. I am inspired by the work that Avani is doing in their communities and I am inspired by the courage that the adolescent boys and girls displayed.
What was most significant for me at the Knowledge Fair in Kolhapur was the activity facilitated by Corey. She had asked all the participants to bring something of significance to share with the group. I had a hard time trying to think of something that was important to me until one day I opened my purse and stared at my mother’s picture. It was then that I realised the pivotal role she plays in my life. The mother-daughter relationship is always a complex one but one cannot live without the other. Knowledge Fair helped me in that realization that my mother’s photograph was more than a picture, it was a sentiment that I had been carrying with me all along.
On Day 2 of the Fair, we sat for a SALT session with the community where we were asked to recollect of a time when we did something to bring change. SALT helped me bring out a memory that would have been buried because it was suppressed. From that day onwards, I used this particular memory to define me, to define the courage that I had as an 8-year-old who dared to change the situation because I know it was not right and this helped me define the person that I am today and that became my source of motivation every time I felt incapable of doing something.
*Community Life Competence Process (CLCP) is a step by step method for community to participate in community ownership. So it helps community to realise their strength and the strength that they have to take action and bring change in the community.
*SALT (Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn and Transfer) is a mode of interaction and an appreciative method that we use in the CLCP. In SALT, we interact with people (at the community) on one to one basis to help people realise their strength. Once we know their strength then they will be able to understand the kind of contribution they can make using their strength. SALT also allows us to delve into the hopes and concerns of the person for the community. This can act as a source of motivation for them to act towards that change. It brings people with like-minded passion and thoughts together and gives them the platform to weave dreams for their communities. From the dreams that we weaved, we develop practices through which actions emerge. We become more resilient as individuals and community as a whole to address issues pertaining to their communities
Written By- Evakordor Bey Syngkli
Umktieh, Ri Bhoi.