In the last few weeks Sujatha led a record number of HHI parenting classes, all of these were in small and very remote villages in southern India. However what made me these particular trainings amazing — beyond the usual witnessing of young mothers discover their own power in building their baby’s brain development, and all the loving-goodness — was that these trainings were held in the middle of a street. Yes, a street.
When Sujatha arrived to lead the trainings, the local organizers led her to a small community room, which must have been really, really small, as she reported that the room would have held about 6-8 women. Gathering behind Sujatha, as she walked to and then viewed this tiny space were the mothers, lots of mothers! In total 28 mothers, all with babies and children in tow, were following her to make sure that they would have a space in the Hands to Hearts training, and it seemed they knew space was limited.
Seeing all of the women, and turning back to look at the training space, it was clear that this was not going to work. The women talked and quickly concluded that there was plenty of space outside the tiny room and the women all agreed that they would happily sit in the middle of the street as long as they could participate. The village leaders offered a shady street to be turned into HHI’s classroom. The village vendors, pulling their carts would come upon the street only to see it filled with mothers and children conducting puppet shows, singing songs and dancing, and they would find another way to get to the market. Men, women, grandmas, grandpas and kids all walking, biking or driving through the village came upon the same scene, and often before they would go to find a way around this training, they would sit and become a part of the training themselves.
I have always claimed that HHI Trainings could really happen anywhere in the world, but I had never considered a street.Bravo to these women for not letting anything get in the way of their learning, and kudos to Sujatha for her endless creativity, flexibility and tenacity in giving!