IPH’s urban health team has begun the training of community health workers. This is a three month training. Classroom sessions will be three days a week alternated with field exercises. The objective of the training is to prepare community members to become community health workers.

This training is 4 days old and this is the second blog, hopefully many more to come in future!!

Yesterday, we began with a social analysis exercise called ‘Power Walk’. During this, each participant is given a slip of paper with an identity; e.g.(female, uneducated, bad looking, poor dalit family) or (male, owns property, has daughters, uneducated, upper caste) etc. Then the participants were asked to stand in a straight line. Each participant was supposed to step forward or backward when the facilitator called out which kind of person could take steps backward or forward.

At the end of the exercise, the group would analyse why some kinds of people move ahead in society as compared to others.

When the ‘game’ was going on there was lot of fun and laughter but it was during the analysis when we all sat around on a mat that all the participants broke down. All of them began thinking about their own life and the factors that had kept them back.

One girl’s mother passed away when she was in school and so she had to drop out. A very moving outcome of her personal experience was that she financed a couple of students to complete their education, which she is very proud of and rightly so.

Another’s mother became mentally ill.

Another girl had always been in a girls’ school till PUC and therefore did not have the courage to go to a co-ed college and so dropped out!

Another lady with an alcoholic, irresponsible father, where the mother raised the children and managed to study till PUC, with the financial support from teaches and neighbours but  had to quit the college as the family found her good match!!

Interestingly one boy had the support from his uncle and continued his studies; however his father wanted him to work in the agricultural field!!

It was amazing to witness the compassion and emotional bond all the participants had when we all heard each participants speak in silence.

For me it was a moving experience, not just because it was a ‘successful’ session and therefore gratifying for a new trainer like me but also to understand the background our team comes from and what a long way they have come

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