The WEIV Reproductive Health programme is supporting women to make substantial improvements in their lives
Staff member Renu sent us the following:
‘Neha is 10. Her father passed away earlier this year. At that time, Neha completely gave up her school studies. She suffered emotionally and became physically weak. Neha’s mother used to come to our meetings. She said that after the passing away of her father, Neha’s future is destroyed. Neha cried all the time. I explained that she should try to get out of her grief and focus on the education of her children. Neha’s mother said, “I am only a woman and my options are limited after the passing away of my husband.” She said she had financial limitations, so she was planning to get Neha married within 2 or 3 years.
I explained that she is not thinking straight because of her grief. Women can do whatever they want in this day and age. I told her “You have a responsibility to think about her future as much as her father did.” She agreed. Today Neha goes to school and is in 5th grade. She has become more emotionally stable and is also looking after her health and cleanliness. She even consoles and advises her mother. I have asked Neha’s mother to delay Neha’s marriage until she turns 18 (as is our organisation’s policy) as marriage is physically and mentally challenging. Neha’s mother has agreed to do this.
Rinku Kumari, 25 years and Pankaj Kumar 28 years live in Rauna village. They have one child, a daughter who is 8 months old. Staff member Madhuri wrote: I explained to Rinku and her mother-in-law that there is a contraceptive injection. After taking advice from a good doctor, Rinku should have this injection or take contraceptive medicine so as not to become pregnant again very soon. Rinku’s mother in law said ‘I will not allow this because Rinku might never have another child.’
So I told her, ‘If Rinku doesn’t have a three year gap between her children then she can be weak (because of anemia), her first child can be weak through lack of attention and the next child will also have the possibility of being born weak and suffering from disease. So, take the right decision at the right time, so that both your daughter in law and her children are healthy. A healthy family is a happy family.’ After I explained all this, Rinku starteded to use contraception with her mother-in-law’s approval.
Anil Pathak, our staff member is charged with the important task of helping the men to see the value of family planning and to put the health of their wives ahead of their fear of losing their strength or virility if they have a vasectomy. He sent the following:
The name of the village is Maha Dev Pur. The name of one of the men is Purushottam Kumar. He is 35 years old. He has completed year 10. His wife’s name is Mamta Kumari, aged 32 years. Purushottam Kumar and his wife have been involved in couple meetings for a long time. They have two sons, the first son is 10 years old and the younger is 2 years old. They told me “we do not want to have any more children.” I told them “a small family is a happy family. A small family is easier to raise financially.”
I explained to him about the procedure of having a vasectomy. I told them that it is much simpler than a female tubal ligation. He agreed to go ahead and have the vasectomy. Success!
Literacy Centres enable opportunity for illiterate adolescent girls
Literacy Centre Name: Indil
Teacher’s Name: Phulmanti Devi
Before the Literacy Centre opened in 2017, many poor girls did not go to school and had no knowledge of education. Their parents were illiterate. I went door to door to meet their families and explained to their parents about the value of education for girls. Even after I had explained to the parents, the girls were too shy to come to the centre.
I went many times to one home where Vyjayanti Kumari lived and after repeated convincing, Vyjayanti started coming to the Centre. She gradually learnt about vowels and consonants. She also learnt to write her name in Hindi and her full address. She can read and write short sentences. In Maths she has now learnt tables till ten and can do addition and subtraction. She feels confident in coming to school now. She even encourages other girls to come to the Centre. Her parents are happy and so is she.
Literacy Centre Name: Berma
Teacher’s Name: Rekha Devi
Rupa Kumari’s parents are both illiterate. Before the opening of the centre, Rupa Kumari was completely illiterate and always used to do household work and did not even pay attention to cleanliness. Her parents used to say that if she goes to school for the whole day, then who will do the housework? We are labourers. Where will we get the money for studies?
After the opening of the Centre, Rekha spoke to Rupa’s parents and told them that the education in our Centre is free and as we only operate from 10 until 2, Rupa can do household chores before and after. She said ‘please let Rupa come because life is incomplete without education.’
Accepting her words, Rupa’s parents started sending her to study. Rupa comes every day and now also pays attention to cleanliness. She has learnt to write her name, her parents’ name, village name and to read and write short stories. She also knows the multiplication table up to 15, can do four digit addition and subtraction and multiplication of two digits. When Wendy visited the Centre last time she saw Rupa doing all these things and was very impressed.
Literacy Centre Name: Gudru Bhuin Bigha
Teacher’s name – Rita Kumari
Girl’s name – Geeta Kumari Age 15 years.
Both mother and father are illiterate. The household is in poor financial condition and Geeta has four siblings. Geeta’s elder sister also studied at this Literacy Centre but now that she is married, she does not attend.
Like her parents, Geeta was also illiterate, but after coming to the Literacy Centre she has learned to read and write well. By next year, Geeta can enrol in a government school. Geeta’s parents are very happy that both of their daughters are studying well through the Literacy Centre.