I was working with children and students as a social worker and it felt good, but I knew something was missing and couldn't figure out what it was. I started working with Sasamani four years ago. As the Education Director, I was given the assignment to design an education program and make it successful. With the help of many, I completed the task but still something felt missing and I couldn’t figure it out.
Days, months, years passed. Lots of people got involved in Sasamani Education activities. They provided help and assistance, but still the feeling stayed the same for me.
One day I thought of introducing counseling and guidance sessions to our sponsored students and it changed everything. The impact was immediate and profound. I learned that students have many issues in their school and personal lives, and they need someone they can trust to help them overcome these challenges. Counseling and guidance sessions help to keep students connected with their studies and with their fellow students. Sessions encourage students to get clear about what they want in the future and focus attention and energy on it. With close supervision, they gain self-confidence and utilize their skills in different areas like leadership, public speaking, presentations, and expression. Most of the girls from the most vulnerable families have experienced great trauma in their lives and, as a result, they can be very sensitive and emotional. It is important for them to carefully choose friends with whom it is safe to share their stories. They are naturally guarded and hard to get to know.
One day, Sasamani held an event and I received several gifts from different students. One of the gifts touched my heart in a special way and tears dropped from my eyes. It was a box with a used pair of shoes that a student bought for me, a handmade cultural bracelet designed and made by her several years ago, and her family photo (with her parents when she was a month old) which she kept as a memory. The letter was attached and she explained how important those things are to her and she said she wanted me to keep the picture and use the shoes and bracelets. She said the picture was the only image of her parents she kept. In the letter, she told me how difficult her school life has been and she managed to reach that school grade because of the help and guidance I gave to her.
This student story filled the gap in my heart, and made me understand how important it is to work with and serve those in need. Serving those in need isn’t just a hand out to cover living costs. Serving others must first start with understanding and respect. You must acknowledge and value their unique characteristics and be able to let someone know how important they are starting from family level up to the whole nation.
One of the long-term goals of our Sasamani team is to work with the girls and women and help them shape their focus in life, have confidence in whatever they do, and most of all, acquire necessary life skills. I am grateful to The Sasamani Foundation for providing such services to the community and for showing a high level of respect to both gender and culture. As long as I am able to serve the people in need, I will.
Working and serving those in need is my forever purpose.
Sasamani Foundation Education Director