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Sujay Joseph | September 1, 2020 | Touching Lives
“Among the different programmes I was attracted to at the Butterflies contact point, the CHC programme appealed the most. It helped me learn more about my own body, my health, and gave me the opportunity to discuss health issues. Membership of CHC also taught me the importance of helping other children to take care of their health,” Salaudin.
“I live in an unclean area. I was surrounded by heaps of garbage, open drains, stagnant water, improper sanitation and human waste in my area. None of us ever considered it to be an issue, none of us bothered to take any steps to resolve the issue as we all considered it very normal. I was quite comfortable with the situation until I became a member of CHC and learned about healthy and unhealthy situations and behaviours.
The weekly health sessions I attended discussed various health issues and hazards and addressed the issue through collective and individual actions. In one of the health sessions Didi spoke to us in detail about environmental health. She explained how careless dumping of solid waste and animal or human waste could affect the health of everyone in the community. This was new learning for me as neither I nor the others including the adults ever thought about it. We never knew how it affected our health. After the session, we discussed the environmental health issue in our wider community. We sat in a group and began to discuss the environmental issues that hamper health. I spoke about the issue of human and animal waste, as well as the open drain in the community. I put forward the suggestion of meeting the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) councillor, to discuss the issues with him and submit a memorandum on the issue. Along with others I prepared the memorandum and sought permission to meet him and discuss the issue. The memorandum demanded the placing of dustbins in different areas of the community and cleaning the area on a daily basis by MCD workers. Prior to this, I had never met any government official face to face or discussed anything with them. With the presence and support of others, I gained courage and went to meet him, along with other CHC members. I can say for sure that CHC gave me the courage to give the presentation in front of him and other government officials. The councillor listened to our points carefully and assured us they would look into the matter. A week later MCD workers started visiting and cleaning our area. Placing dustbins did not take place, even after several follow up visits to community members. The change that we could bring about through this intervention gave me and others the confidence to take up other health issues in the community and involve ourselves in resolving the issues.
The opportunity, training, guidance and support given to me through the Butterflies CHC was the backbone for my achievement. In 2010, I was selected as Child Health Educator (CHE) which gave me the opportunity to serve other children and the people of my community. I always carried my First Aid box along with me and provided first aid to people in need. I was a CHE for one tenure and used to give first aid assistance to other children and people in the community. In one instance, I saw a child who had had an accident on the road. I gathered my confidence and gave first aid and later took the child to a nearby government hospital. The child was a stranger to me yet I served him. Other children and people in the community appreciated me and started calling me ‘little doctor’ after that instance. My father and I are proud of this acknowledgement and recognition because it was our first experience of this kind.
This story is significant to me because I am now called ‘Little Doctor’ by the people in my community, which gives me a special identity and recognition. I have gained confidence and courage to face people, to speak to them and involve myself in community health issues,” says a proud Salaudin.