I attended a talk yesterday by Indian author Gayathri Prabhu about her book ‘If I had to tell it again”. It’s a memoir of her relationship with her father, a relationship which was loving and angry, joyful and sad. During audience questions, someone asked her whether she would call her childhood traumatic as she describes a lot of difficult experiences in her book. “No” Gathathri said. She went on to explain that while there were traumatic moments in her childhood, she wouldn’t describe it as a ‘traumatic childhood’ which implies totality of experience.
This resonated with me in respect to the care that SBT provides children. Many of the children have experienced unimaginable loss and trauma during their short lives. Salaam Balaak Trust recognises this, but also sees the joyful freedom of childhood and, I believe, fosters that in every child. I think perhaps Salaam Balaak Trust might be the difference between a ‘traumatic childhood’, and a ‘childhood with traumatic moments’, for many people.
As we come to the end of our trip, I would like to thank everyone at SBT, especially Shikha and the mental health team for their generosity and warmth during our time here. I’ve tried my best to listen carefully and I hope I’ve understood some of the nuances. I’ve been quiet on the blog recently because I’ve had a lot to take in and I’m not sure that I’m ready to share all that I’ve heard and seen, some of it is not mine to share anyway.
But I’ll tell you what I feel to be true: Salaam Balaak Trust provides an essential service in Delhi. The mental health team work tirelessly to restore children to the ‘world of childhood’ and, I believe, they do.
Some of you may be interested in project updates so here’s what I’ve done: I’ve drafted a report about the mental health program encompassing a description of the service and some of the challenges. I plan to continue working with the mental health team to co-author 2-3 academic papers which I hope will draw attention to the value of their work and help other NGO’s working in similar circumstances. I hope to continue working with Shikha and the team for a long time.
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