Stories of Change
Stories of change
Support on Time
During a survey, a SNEHA Community Organizer (CO) identified a lady Shabana who was 6 months pregnant who lived with her husband and daughter in Ashok Nagar. The CO guided Shabana on getting the ANC (Antenatal Care) check-up and registration at Rukhmanibai Hospital. After much effort by the CO, Shabana in her 7th month got herself registered. Her haemoglobin (Hb) count was way below normal, at 6.4. She was advised by the doctors to get admitted immediately. Shabana was initially reluctant to get admitted, but on the CO’s persistence she was hospitalized and underwent a glucose and injection course to improve her health. Her next report showed an improvement as her HB increased to 9.1. Shabana delivered a healthy baby weighing 3.2 kg through a normal delivery. Guidance for proper diet and childcare was provided to Shabana on the CO’s PNC (Postnatal Care) visit. Shabana expressed her gratitude to the SNEHA CO by sharing how relieved she was with her timely support.
23-year-old Sunanda (name changed) lived in Khambalpada. She was pregnant with her first child. During a surveillance visit, the Community Organizer (CO) identified Sunanda in her 8th month of pregnancy. Sunanda looked extremely pale and had swelling in her hands and feet. Sunanda was taking help from an Ayurvedic doctor, but the CO put in great efforts to convince Sunanda and her husband to take treatment from Shastri Nagar Hospital, where she was hospitalized for 4 days due to her critical situation. Just two days after her discharge from Shastri Nagar Hospital, there was pain in her abdomen, due to which she was referred to Sion Hospital. Through a Caesarean procedure Sunanda gave birth to a baby weighing only 1.75 kg. The child was suffering from neonatal jaundice. With continuous treatment from the medical officer from Sion, both mother and child recovered. The SNEHA CO was thanked for the extended support and timely intervention.
A Voice From A Client
Anamika came to the SNEHA crisis centre in April 2011. She was brutally beaten up by Raja, her alcoholic husband, and asked for redress and medical help for herself and her three school-going daughters. After facilitating medical care for Anamika and her daughters, SNEHA tried to provide counselling for her and Raja. Raja, however, would not consent to receiving any kind of intervention. In order to protect Anamika and her daughters, SNEHA filed a case under the PWDV Act in Thane court; it was the first case of its kind to be filled by a service provider. Raja eventually approached SNEHA for reconciliation, and with SNEHA’s efforts, a court settlement was reached in August 2011. Anamika says: I was hesitant to approach SNEHA, but I think I took the right decision. Today I have a rightful existence in my house. I am no longer humiliated.
In the month of Ramadan, fast is observed from dawn till sunset in Muslim communities. According to the Holy book of Hadith, fasting is compulsory for those who are healthy and sane. Those who are traveling, menstruating, severely ill, pregnant, or breastfeeding are exempted from fasting. In one of the Muslim communities, SNEHA’s Community Organizers found that pregnant women were observing fast and reported this to their supervisors (Program Officers). The Program Officer (PO) decided to address the issue through “godh bharai,” or Indian baby shower. Before organizing a godh bharai, the POs approached the religious leader (Maulana) and requested him to announce the fasting exemptions from the mosque after the prayer to reach the mass. The Maulana’s announcement was followed by a godh bharai organized by SNEHA. Fruits and healthy snacks were distributed to pregnant women, and most of the participating women agreed to a positive behaviour change by starting to eat normally even during Ramadan.
During a screening of under-3 children, Banu, an AAHAR Community Organizer, learnt that Madhavi, a six-month-old child weighing only 4.7 kg, was suffering from severe diarrhea and had reached a critical stage. Married at 17, Madhavi’s mother knew little about child caring and hygiene practices. She tried breastfeeding her baby but failed because she had inverted nipples. With no one to guide her, she stopped breastfeeding altogether and started bottle feeding her. Banu took Madhavi to a large public hospital. The hospital care and stringent followup, and post–discharge guidance by Banu led to an increase in Madhavi’s weight to 5.1 kg over a short period of time. “Tumchya mule mala majhi mulgi parat milali, kalat nahi kase tumche aabhar maanu.” “You saved my child. I don’t know how I and my family should thank you,” said her mother.
Better safe than sorry
Avneet, a 12-year-old living in Ramabai Colony, a vulnerable slum in Mumbai’s Eastern suburb, visited a local doctor with his father seeking treatment for a general ailment. While awaiting his consultation, Avneet noticed that the doctor was reusing the same syringe and needle for multiple patients. Having attended SNEHA’s sessions on HIV/AIDS, he advised the patients to carefully ensure that the doctor opened a new syringe and needle each time and that it was the right of a patient to demand one. The patients acted on this advice and asked the doctor for the old syringe and needle and disposed them themselves in the dustbin. Thus he created awareness amongst the patients, which helped save people from a very risky situation.
The strength to move on
Razia (name changed) lives in Dharavi. She had an inter-religious marriage to her husband Santosh in 2003. Santosh, who had gone to the extent of converting to Islam in order to marry Razia, had now disappeared from Razia's life. Razia was left to fend for herself and her infant daughter. Desperate, she approached SNEHA’s Center for Vulnerable Women and Children (CVWC) in August 2007 seeking to locate her husband and reconcile them. The center counselled Razia and located her husband, who was already married to another woman with whom he had two children. The centre arranged for an intervention between Santosh, Razia and Santosh’s other wife. Razia was made aware of her legal rights, and with SNEHA’s support, demanded monetary compensation as settlement. A financial settlement of Rs.1,00,000 was reached, enabling her to start a new life. In Razia's words, “Whenever I come to the centre and meet the staff, I feel happy. They have become my support system. I will move on in life leaving behind all my problems.”