A mother to all…
Buddha once said “Family is not about blood. It is about who is willing to hold your hand when you need it the most.” These words, which hold so true, come to mind when one speaks with Sushila Bala, block coordinator – F, Jhirka, Nuh district, who as an integral part of the Good Governance Team at the Sehgal Foundation.
Armed with a degree in arts and crafts (ITI), this versatile lady took up the challenge of educating, guiding and ‘grooming’ young girls. Recalling the beginning of numerous journeys, which she has relived, time and again, with each young girl, from the imparting of alphabets till the time a career path is carved out, she says with a sense of both pride and gratitude “Salary is one thing, but the joy and satisfaction one receives in the form of blessings is irreplaceable and unforgettable.” From basic education to subjects like environment, governance, creative arts and crafts and many other fields, which are vital for a holistic education have been covered as much as possible – the key word remaining creativity and dedication.
“I still remember one girl named Ayesha, whom I had trained. It’s actually her determination which I can never forget. She was married off at a young age – a common practice – and abused. After being ‘freed’ from her misery, she resumed her education. Today, she is an Anganwadi worker!” says Sushila with great pride in her voice.
The trust these young girls place in her, she says, is her true treasure: “Children treat me like their mother. They confide in me. We find solutions to problems, together. Many times, parents come to me, requesting me to help with the guidance of their wards. I feel it is the bond that is formed over the years that builds this kind of a relationship.”
Was working not a challenge for her too? “You see, I was in a way lucky that I always had family support to back me up. However, I had my share of strife too. I can relate with the challenges faced by children, especially the girls. At the beginning, we had started with a tailoring course, but we gradually moved on to other aspects of education, realizing the need and potential. I had to rationalize with the parents that education, at least the basics, was important to run a household, amongst other things. That’s how things began, and got rolling.”
Sushila cites the dowry system as an ongoing menace, though she says the count of child marriages has reduced. Gender sensitization has resulted in a drop in gender bias, which she feels is of utmost importance for a progressive society.
Her next steps of action? With a smile, she answers promptly “I want to learn MS Excel in a bit more of detail. The foundation has played a major role in sculpting me as a person. I even drive a scooty” she laughingly adds.
How does she envisage the growth of the foundation and her role in it over the next five years? “I feel the progress. In some cases, it may be slow, but it is there. I think that is a really good thing. Change is a good thing. And, I will continue to work towards it. Sehgal Foundation encompasses many areas of good work. I feel strongly that combined efforts will result in the change we want to see.”
Her words remind one of the quote “Be the change you want to see.” Does it hold true for us too? Do we retire at the end of the day, with the good sense and feeling that somewhere, somehow, we have made a difference? If yes, then we have begun to understand the meaning of life and living. If no, then it is never too late for introspection and reflection.
Submitted by : Sarah Berry Communications and Media Consultant