Saving Lives... by Praseetha Sukumaran

Saving Lives

Praseetha Sukumaran
  Service Provider - SNEHITHA,
Ernakulam District

I have been working with Kudumbashree since last nine months. Previously, I had a service background in three NGO projects for women and children as a consultant psychologist. Earlier, my job role was more on dealing with the cognitive processes and the behavior problems of my clients. I tend to work mostly in a private setting. After I started working in Kudumbashree Mission, I got involved in activities not limited to a person or his/her family but in much more broad scale social services.

As a part of the Snehitha Advocacy Campaign, I got opportunities to conduct awareness classes in various panchayaths at Ernakulam district. The Campaign were about to educate common people about the activities of 'Snehitha', how Snehitha can protect and support women and children in distress and provide voice for their issues and concerns. Also enlighten them about the rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and how can they get legal aid. These campaigns are really helpful for people to realize that unjust situations can be improved. These kind of awareness helps to develop critical understanding of life situations and can aid people in building the confidence to speak up for themselves.

An incident I still remember is that one day after an awareness campaign one women came to me, she was thin and tired. She stood in front of me and started crying. After some while she introduced herself and told me she is from a tribal family. She  had a love marriage and got married for about 10 years. Her husband was quite controlling from the moment they met, but the abuse really started after she had her first child and it just escalated. She told me that she had no idea about helping hands like Snehitha. She didn’t knew there was such thing as Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KELSA) to help people like her. If she knew she had the option she would have left him a long time ago. She only stayed in the relationship for her children. I ensured her all support in need. I am grateful to Kudumbashree for giving me such an opportunity so that I could make aware these  people about the support system available in the society other than their family.

Being a service provider is often a challenging role. Effective communication, a non-judgmental approach, building trust and maintaining a good rapport are crucial to enabling change. We work for clients to help them identify root causes of their problems. Being a part of Kudumbashree Mission i was able to rescue people in real need and succeeded in providing them with psychological, legal, and medical support.

One of the rescue program that I remember is about a mentally ill mother and her daughter. Their house was in a isolated area and they lived detached from society. The mother who was mentally ill didn't allow her daughter to go to school. For everything she always blamed her husband and she imprinted hatred in her daughter's feelings about her father. Even they was not having proper food. Some near by people informed the panchayath member about the issue and panchayath member informed Snehitha. Myself, Snehitha Counsellor and Community Counsellor went there. We felt the situation was not pleasant and immediate care was needed for the mother and the child. We informed police officials and social justice officials. Initially we faced some issues from the police officials later with all support we could provide the mother with a psychiatrist help and was able to move the daughter to a shelter home. Even we found the lady's husband and talked with him also. We are happy that we saved two lives from a life threatening situation.