It was on 18 September 2017, that I joined Kudumbashree Mission. It was the day, I got transformed from a student to an employee. I joined at Kudumbashree Pathanamthitta District mission, as the service provider of Snehitha Gender Help Desk. Within the first week itself I came to the realization that Kudumbashree Mission is beyond what I had known till that day. From that day onwards, I was trying to know more about the Kudumbashree Mission. But as the days passed, I started to realize that this is a vast universe where it is difficult to define what it is using the limited number of words.
Even if my hometown was Pathanamthitta, I was totally unaware of the places there and its society to a great extent. My post-graduation in social work had taught me that social work is ‘helping others to help themselves’. It's theory classes had taught me how to be a facilitator in bringing about changes in the society. When I joined Snehitha, I saw how I started to become a facilitator and a social worker. I slowly started to know that my service as a social worker should begin from my district itself. My attitudes, leadership quality, communication skills, social skills, problem solving capacity, ability to work under pressure and within the time frame etc began getting moulded by my day-to-day experiences at Snehitha. It was then I started applying my classroom knowledge into practical matters. The job flexibility at Snehitha helped me not to see this as a paid job only, rather, it helped me to work with more satisfaction by helping the women and children around me.
I started enjoying the happiness in sharing the position of a breadwinner in my family with my father. Thus I began becoming independent and self-reliant. I became a support to my mother who was only a housewife. I strongly believe that I could bring about great changes in my mother’s thought process and her position at home. My home was a typical example of how a patriarchal society should be. But now, my household works began to be shared among the four of us and when I got sensitized on what women empowerment and gender is, I was able to impart this slowly to my family and bring some changes in them too.
As Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” This is what I got from working as a service provider at Snehitha. I started to realize my identity and potential. The awareness classes I was assigned to conduct gave me so much of positive feedback and confidence. This got increased day by day as more number of people began to demand me for more classes.
Once, a 19-year-old girl came to Snehitha who was being abused by her 2-year elder brother from ninth standard onwards. When she was brought to Snehitha she was destroyed mentally and we couldn’t utter a single word to her, because, at that moment tears would overflow from her eyes. She was in a condition where she was not able to trust a single person in this whole universe. For about a month, she was with us and when she went back, our satisfaction and happiness had no boundaries because we were not giving back the girl we got. She became greatly motivated and optimistic. There was the power of ‘Snehitha’ in transforming lives.
Now I am one of the happiest people in this world when I think of the words of Gordon B. Hinckley- “the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.” Now, I feel proud to hear people addressing me as ‘Snehitha’ and now I strongly believe that change should come from within and it should be we who should start changing at first.