In a tribal village, far down a dirt road in the rural district of Angul, Odisha, India, an HHI training was offered to all the mothers and grandmothers to join us to learn about early childhood development. The response was fabulous, with more than 22 moms piling in, almost all had young infants, and a few had newborns snuggled close to their chests.
The moms were excited and surprised to have a training that would offer education and support for their role as caregivers/mothers, this was a new experience for them. HHI is unique in offering parent education and even more so because of where and how we do this, that is in extremely remote areas with few resources. And, while this village has been raising babies for generations, none of their babies came with instruction manuals (just like the rest of the world’s babies!) and they just do the best they know how.
They listened intently, soaking up the new information and merging it into their own knowing and practices. It is always a joy when I get to witness an HHI training, I learn as much from the participants as they do from our trainers and the conversations that they spark with each other.
A special surprise that I got at this training though was from this grandmother. She was a village elder, born and raised within her tribe, in this small village. She’s seen a lot in her years and she was a wealth of knowledge. To my delight she had come to attend HHI’s training and she moved to sit next to me in the back of the room. I was slightly daunted, thinking, “what could HHI possibly teach her?”. But, she was very interested in the new information and all of the activities and she leaned over and said to me (via a translator), “Thank you. Thank you for coming to our village. This education is all new to our mothers and they need this, this will make them more intelligent and our children will benefit forever.”
Wow… I was humbled and honored to know the value she saw in HHI. Thank you grandma!