Written by Julia Queale, Intern
When did you first begin working at CRHP?
I joined CRHP in 1975.
What is your role at CRHP?
Since 1975, my most important work has been with the Women’s Groups, Farmers’ Groups, and the Adolescent Girls Program. Today, I am a social worker on the Mobile Health Team. Every day, we go to a village where I talk with family members about the importance of women and children.
What do you like most about working at CRHP?
I like to work among the women.
What is an important lesson you learned from Drs. Raj and Mabelle Arole?
Dr. Raj Arole taught me that, “Every human being is an image of God.” I always remind myself of this. Dr. Mabelle Arole would always have a smile on her face. She taught me how to work hard and speak sweetly to the people.
Why did you want to become a social worker?
(Smiles and laughs)
When I studied at Ahmednagar College, I would visit my parents during the holidays. When I was with them, I used to observe my parents help many women with their family problems. Since that time, I thought that I should work for the women. Secondly, my father was a social worker, so maybe it is in my blood.
What changes have you seen in the CRHP community since you joined in 1975?
There are many changes in the surrounding communities. When I first started my work, there was superstition, caste inequity, poverty, and no respect for the women; no one was there to help. In such a condition, it was very difficult for us to change the mentality of the men and mothers-in-law. Over time, as CRHP began the Women’s Group, the women were gaining respect and the community members began to listen to them. This was an effective approach. During the meetings, the women of all castes would drink tea together, and I would teach them about health problems. Today, CRHP has decreased inequity and poverty. Members of the Women’s Group learn about the benefits of government schemes and how to run a business.
How have you changed since joining CRHP?
I remember the first day I joined CRHP. I sat in a class with the Village Health Workers when Dr. Raj Arole told me to sit next to Lalanbai and learn from her. I thought, “How can I learn from this illiterate woman?” Finally, after I heard her stories, I changed. I decided that reading is not the only type of education, but it is the experiences in life and the people you meet that give you knowledge. I learned about the importance of hard-work, honesty, and hospitality from Lalanbai and other illiterate women. One time, they even taught me how to make a basket out of bamboo!
What are your future-plans at CRHP?
I have great respect for CRHP because for most of my life, I have been a part of it. From the beginning to now, I have been able to watch CRHP grow. In the future, I think we should involve people of all states in India and have training for women and adolescent girls.