Gypsy Mommies Love Their Babies & Thirst for Knowledge
Over the last several months Sujatha, HHI's Master Trainer in India, has been working with a local non-profit whose mission it is to prevent female infanticide. Female infanticide is an unfortunate reality in India, particularly in rural and deeply impoverished areas, it is the intentional killing of baby girls due to a variety of reasons, but it mostly boils down to girls are still often seen as a financial burden and of little value to their families. Sujatha has joined forces with the female infanticide prevention program by invitation, with everyone recognizing the power of educating mothers and building the bonds of love between mother and child, knowing that the benefits will ripple far beyond that woman and baby.
Last week Sujatha conducted trainings in the remote tribal areas of Kathirvelpuram and Periyakulam. Here she led two trainings with mothers and grandmothers from the gypsy community. The mothers are all very young, few have had any access to formal education, but they obviously love their children. To attend an HHI training, they are all willing to fore go two days of wages they earn in the fields, instead they choose to learn. HHI's training teaches them how important the earliest years are for child development and how they can improve their own baby's brain development - this is how happy they to participate!
I am particularly humbled to see these mothers and grandmothers. It is clear that their training site is often only a dirt patch, they do not have any fancy toys, books or almost any other resource but their own intelligence, thirst for new knowledge and their love! (And the beauty of HHI is that this is all that is required.) They are eager learners and they are proud to be given a training that is just for them, this is something they consider a huge privilege, regardless of the training facilities, and it causes tremendous pride.
Sujatha is now known throughout this entire region. She travels on the local buses throughout the area to give these trainings and she has now trained 100's of village mommies in the importance of early childhood development via HHI. It seems that she has become something of a local celebrity, all the pregnant women and the young mothers, and even the grandmothers find her on the buses and want to sit with her, talk with her, tell her their stories of how they are using their knowledge and how their babies are learning so quickly. The women are so proud and they are eager to share and to learn more. The power of education at its finest!
I just traveled to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and for me that was something to be thankful for. But, when I see the beauty of what Sujatha, HHI and these women are creating in the most remote and deprived areas of India, I somehow feel that I move beyond thankful, I have the experience of being deeply, profoundly humbled.
See all the pictures - click http://www.flickr.com/photos/handstohearts/sets/72157610504785900/