Day 8 in India!
I cannot believe that we have been in India for over a week! It feels so much like a second home, yet so alien and different all at the same time.
This morning Team B (Tamsin (me!), Becky, Ewan and Rachel) went to the Kaniapuram Oasis Women’s Tailoring Course. We visited this group yesterday in order to chat with them, in order to prepare for our session today. This course is teaching the women to tailor clothes, make clothes and do embroidery (45 different types of stitches!) in order for them to become more independent and be able to contribute to their household more, whether that be getting a job as a tailor, or saving money by tailoring their own and their families clothing.
The theme of the session was Empowerment, Equality and a self-esteem. It was incredibly informative and full of learning for us as well as the ladies in the group.
We began with a task involving the lovely Becky laying on the floor and the women sitting in a circle around her. We handed out 3 post it notes, one pink, one green and one purple. The pink symbolised what the women liked about themselves cosmetically, for example they may like their hair colour or their nose shape. The purple symbolised their worries and the green symbolised their hopes and aspirations for the future.
They were asked to stick the pink on the outside of Becky, on the floor around her to symbolise them being on the outside/cosmetic. The purple colour was positioned on Becky’s chest and stomach as they are internal worries and the green on her head as they are thoughts and wishes for the future. The group very much enjoyed this different type of learning, it was very interactive which it was felt they are not particularly used to. Here are some examples of what the women came up with. For the pink coloured they said they like their; eyes, face, hair, body, chudidar and heart. For purple it was things like they were worried for: their future, their husband, their children, being able to study well, their skin colour and their family. The green ones were wishes for the future. The women said they would like to be a tailor, get a job, earn own money, have their children care for them, become a pharmacist and become a business woman.
It was fascinating and enlightening to be able to hear their views and how different they are to our own considering we both have very separate and different societies and cultural upbringings.
Following this we discussed equality. We did a task where they drew around their hands on a piece of paper They were asked to write Male roles and skills on one hand and female ones on the other hand. It was thought provoking to discover that they are all in the view that men typically do building, taxi driving, manual labour etc and that women do cooking, cleaning and childcare.
After this task we had a discussion regarding job roles and gave examples of women doing what is typically a male role and vice verse. We had some cards with job roles on them and the women actually placed all roles in the pile for both sexes, apart from childcare which they placed with women, and fire person and traffic officer in the male section.
This provoked discussion as to why they felt this was the case, and we discovered that in Indian culture, men do not carry out childcare because traditionally males are not allowed to support females, but women are able to support both sexes. The women agreed this was a little unfair but they understand why this is the case and are happy with it. They gave their reasoning for the male roles as they are not strong or fast enough to be a fire person or traffic officer. We asked why they think they are not strong enough and gave some personal examples that some of us female team members do things like ride motorcycles and weight train, just the same as men. (this is the conversation in a nutshell)
We all left this session feeling we had learnt something new and taught new things too. We had many discussions around female leaders too, and how the women felt stronger and more united when the prime minister was female and now that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is a female they are feeling this again.
It was enlightening to see that the women are already so empowered by Oasis and the Tailoring course, and that they are becoming more and more confident by the day. They are all intelligent and humorous women who aspire to make something of themselves, they just do not have the tools and experience quite yet to make this happen…but progress is certainly there.
Tamsin (ZamZam) Woods
Meeting up with students who are learning English with the organisation oasis, our visit started in the morning trying to find the place, where the driver was unsure!
The challenge was successful, having found the place, a small room with a couple of computers; we met Eva who introduced us to the group of girls full of smiles and enthusiasm. The team started by introducing ourselves and asking questions to find out a little of their background. We encouraged them to ask us the questions; this was to help them build up their confidence in speaking English.
Our aim was to help them with the synonym using a game to match explanations with the 2 words having acted out visually to give them ideas of the meanings of certain words such as bug! We also went through sentences to help them in the past and present tense.
Our team then went back to the same place to deliver the same session to a different group of people who turned out to be mixed gender and more cheeky! We swapped our tasks to have a different experience within our team. All came away happy and uplifted.
Both groups were really good in spoken and understanding English, very impressive.
After that we went to an afterschool club which had 56 children, introducing the the crocodile song to a range of children between 5 – 15 was tricky, we then played a form of musical statues, introdueced them to a new game using string game of land, shore sea, jumping when instructions were called out . Followed by the hokey, cokey. The room was full of happy smiles.
Team Member X