Location: india

After 15 yrs, Suchitra Speaks

Fifteen years ago, in the small Indian village of Sanjamura, a baby girl was born into a family that was grieving the recent loss of a son. This baby girl was named Suchitra, but no one called her by her name, her family was mired in grief and did not welcome her with joy or love. So, as Suchitra grew up, she never spoke. She was taken to doctors for examination, but they found no medical reason for her silence, and it was clear that she could hear and that she understood what other’s said… but still she remained silent.

Then something happened. Suchitra’s sister-in-law attended an HHI training. There she heard how important it was to talk to babies, to coo and smile, to make eye contact, and call them by their names. She learned that this is how babies learn to speak. It occurred to her that Suchitra had never been given these simple gifts.

After the HHI training she returned to her home committed to speaking to Suchitra every day – with love! And, she instructed everyone else in the family to do so as well.

After 15 years of silence and loneliness, followed by only 3 months of LOVE and interaction – Suchitra began to speak!

It is never too early, or too late for Love!

Sharing Peace & Friendship

HHI trained a group of village mommies in Jagipathur, Orissa, India in March 2011.

We recently returned to check in with them.  They were given HHI Peace Hearts made by children in Portland, OR and they made some to return.  An exchange of love and heart!

See all the photos from the day on our Flickr page – click here.

An HHI Milestone: 100,000 Lives Touched!

What began as a caregiver training for a few orphanages in southern India has blossomed into something of a phenomenon.  Now, in less than six years, HHI is tipping the massive milestone of reaching 100,000 people!  We have trained mothers, fathers, health workers, midwives, day care and orphanage workers. They, in turn, are providing better care, more love and improved health for the children they care for.

Yesterday, as the world’s population tipped seven billion people, HHI hosted a training for 14 Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) workers (similar to US Head Start teachers) in Sanahula village and two additional mommy trainings in the remote area of Orissa, India.

Here’s Laura, HHI’s founder and executive director, with HHI trainers and the ICDS workers, all from different villages in India. Each one of them will be able to take what they’ve learned back to their village and share it with coworkers, families of the children they care for, their own family and friends and the list goes on. This is how HHI’s ripple effect has enabled us to reach far more than the 100,000 people we’ve directly impacted!

Laura was able to celebrate with local mommies, ICDS workers and HHI’s trainers yesterday. She’s also hosting HHI’s annual Trainer’s Conference before heading off to Singapore to present at The Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Early Childhood Development.

Check out this video from Laura to see HHI in action:

Be Inspired ~ Voices From the Field

Read about HHI’s work and impact, from three different perspectives, from three different continents.

Our thanks to the women who shared their stories and to Laura Barker for capturing and writing them and Kara North for putting them into such a beautiful publication!

If you would like a copy of this booklet, please email us your name and mailing address. We would be happy to mail copies for free within the US.

Daddies Rising!

For the last several weeks, I have been traveling around India, visiting hundreds of HHI trainees and trainers. It has been an exciting, heartening adventure to be sure! Every time I do this, I notice a kind of theme that is going on under the current of our work. This time I was delighted to find that the theme is Daddy Power!

In south India, I met with about 100 mothers and grandmothers who had taken HHI’s training in the last year and what I heard loud and clear was how interested their husbands, the fathers, were in learning about their children. While it is common that HHI mommies go on to train other mommies in their lessons of nutrition, hygiene, baby massage and the like, I had not specifically heard before that they were teaching their husbands these lessons. This time, it is practically all I heard!

In India, as in many old and very traditional cultures, the father’s main role has been to care for the family financially, rarely taking direct action in the day-to-day care of the children. I think this is a lost opportunity for the men to get the joy their full serving of joy and love out of being a dad. But, after HHI comes through a village, reports are the mommies return home and straight away begin to teach the daddies, and likely they make more space for them to step in and claim some of the responsibilities and the joy that comes with them!

Mothers reported that now their husbands are giving baths, feeding their infants, taking them out the markets, telling them stories or singing them to sleep, giving baby massage and a few women even bragged that their husbands were washing the nappies! One mother beamed with pride as she told me that her husband “takes better care of our baby” than she does!

In speaking with some of the fathers, they have requested to have their own HHI Daddy Trainings. We think this is a grand idea!

Power to the Daddies!