After preparing for Paalakshaala for over a month, the team decided that we were ready to begin. Paalakshaala is our flagship program, where we work with parents who have children between the ages of 0-3, and facilitate dialogues about positive parenting,
22 June 2018
Time: 2.20 pm
Team was excited, running around, putting posters up, setting up the registration desk, preparing snacks to serve to the parents, practicing the session and happy that it was finally about to start.
Lata didi was the first parent to arrive. A strong lady, who works through the morning, then runs a beedi manufacturing centre in Ganj Peth, and then comes for the session. She discusses with us, how little time she is able to spend with her son through the day, but how happy her son makes her.
We banter about this and that.
Time: 3.30 pm
Count of parents: 1
Still, no sign of anyone else. We decided that as long as one parent has shown up, we will do the session, and we will make sure her time is accounted for. We apologise to Lata didi and tell her that we would start, she pushes us to wait some more. She says, “Pehli baar hai na, samay lagega“(Since it’s the first time, it’ll take a while).
Time: 3.45 pm
Count of parents: 1
Two more parents walk in. The first session is about vision setting for the child and an introduction to the program. We shared with the group how we were expecting a higher parent turnout. Lata didi, with her beautiful wisdom, responds, “Aap pehla kadam uthaoge, toh hi toh doosra kadam uthega”(If you take the first step, only then will the second step be taken).
This journey we are on, demands us to persevere through what may seem like disappointments and failures, but the only thing we know is that the job needs to be done. Our children come from extremely low income communities where they face trauma, abuse and neglect from the time that they are born. The more parents we talk to, the more we realise how much they care about their children. All they need is the possibility and choice of doing things differently from how they were raised, and what they see around themselves.
We have chosen to persevere.