Self awareness program, was the buzzword! It had everyone at Aarti school and VFT buzzing around with the preparations for this workshop that was going to be conducted at the Aarti village by Women's Education Project (WEP of USA) in coordination with Voice4girls and facilitated by Prof. Bonnie Zaire and students of the Virginia tech University, under the Oorja community Outreach programme. Preparations had to be made for the accommodation of the facilitators, transport of the students to the village, food, stationary and umpteen other details were being taken care of by the capable team at VFT.
I came into the picture rather late, when most things were already in place, and joined my friend Indumathy at Aarti village the evening before the workshop. It was a beautiful pleasant evening, and the sun had just set. The girls at the village were busy with their pre-dinner activities, playing, chatting, running around. We had an informal chat with the senior girls at the Aarti Village about their expectations and perceptions about the upcoming workshop. Many of them seemed to have prior knowledge of what to expect as the agenda had already been circulated among them. I was amazed to hear the vocal ones among the group talk about their perceptions of phrases like Take a stand, lend a hand, or words like rights, adolescence, bodily changes etc. and what these conveyed to them. Some of the girls were not forthcoming with their opinions and chose to listen rather than talk. As I surveyed the room looking at the faces of these girls who were going in for a 4 day workshop the next day, the one thing that struck me the most was the calmness that prevailed in the room. No hesitation, titillation, major doubts, edginess, nothing!! There was a sense of total acceptance and complete trust in the fact that they had been asked to participate in the workshop by Sandhyamma, and whatever it was, it was good for them! Very matter of fact, if you please!
Every time I visit Kadapa, I am awestruck by the importance and magnitude of the work being done at Aarti home and the school. Kudos!!!May you and your tribe grow.