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Dec 4, 2017

Gathering dreams: Preparing for year two

The sun is setting in Chennai, and the moon rises over rainbow-painted buildings. Palm trees sway in a breeze that still smells like the afternoon rain, and the air is full of the sounds of car horns, street dogs, and voices.

Today, another home visit is coming to an end.

"What are your hopes for this program?"

Every mother is asked to answer this question at the end of her application interview for our program. Each mother is different. Some have finished secondary school and others have only completed 5th grade. They live in different homes, have different tastes, and show different personalities. They talk about what they love about their children, what they fear and who they go to, if there is anyone, for support.

But they are all living in poverty (less than $2 per person per day), and they all share the same questions and dream the same dreams. 

"I want to gain practical knowledge about what my son needs."

"I would like to know what children with autism need, so I can work with my son and help him improve."

"I want to get more training and counseling about children with disabilities, so I can help and teach other mothers who are having a child with a disability."

"I want to know more about my child's disability."

"I hope I can have more social interaction with other mothers because of this program."

"I hope in this program I can interact with other women in the same situation as me."

"I want to learn more about ADHD so I can understand how to help my daughter."

In January, these women will meet together for the first time. They will get to know each other, share their struggles and successes, and learn together. As they complete our unique program curriculum (you can read the details in the document attached to this report), they will also begin learning marketable skills such as jewelry making, tailoring, and beautician services.

Thank you for believing in this program and investing financially in Priyam Global. I don't know if there is anything better than giving people what they want most, and what they are willing to work for: education, knowledge, and skills. 

Feel free to read our 2018-2019 program timeline for a deeper understanding of how our program works and how each piece fits together.

Gratefully yours,

The Priyam Team

Sep 7, 2017

MAHLA Model Pilot Project: Padmavathi's Story

Padmavathi in a group session
Padmavathi in a group session

"I always thought that I had talent, now I can prove that I do." 

Before she enrolled in the 2017 pilot project of Priyam Global's innovative MAHLA program, Padmavathi spent all of her energy simply trying to care for her son alone. She did not know anyone else who was raising a child with severe cerebral palsy. She had never had any professional guidance on how to communicate with her son, who couldn't speak, or how to care for his changing needs as he grew. Although she had time during each day to work, she could not find a job that was flexible enough to allow her to care for her son if he needed it, and she did not have any marketable skills. The meager income that her husband earned as a manual laborer wasn't enough to afford basic necessities.

Eleven months ago, Padmavathi walked into our women's center for the first day of a twelve-month program. At first, she was shy and unsure of what to expect. But since that day, she has learned how to sew and how to make jewelry, how to communicate with her son, how to know which local foods are nutritious for herself and her son, how to take care of her needs while taking care of her family, how to envision a new future for her family and how to make that vision happen. Most importantly, she has learned that she is not alone on her journey, and she has built lasting friendships with other special needs mothers in her community.

Alongside discovering a noticeable talent for tailoring and making clothing, Padmavathi also discovered a love for helping others learn, and we will be inviting her to work as a teaching assistant for the next group of mothers in the 2018 MAHLA program.

In one month, Padmavathi graduates from our first MAHLA program. It has been amazing to watch her grow more confident and happy, alongside her new community of like-minded women. Our dream is to find and support more women like Padmavathi as they learn what they are capable of, and work to make a better life for their families.

Padmavathi with her son
Padmavathi with her son
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