Tuesday, 6 September 2016

“Competition makes us faster, collaboration makes us better”

As I look back to our 3 month long journey at Sahas, many beautiful memories comes to my mind; from conceptualization of ‘Sahas’ to bringing clarity on the objective, intensive brainstorming for co-creating various workshops on the facets of the intervention, and finally implementing them on ground with the adolescents. However the most crucial and beautiful aspect of our intervention was collaborating with Kamya Dargan, Founder at My Perch.

‘Collaboration’ for us is a process through which we add value to each other’s vision and it was definitely not a momentary decision to begin journey with her. 
Until now, with all my work experience in corporate and volunteering, the understanding of collaboration was very technical something that I never really understood and didn’t relate to!  We at ‘Sahas’ dismissed the philosophy behind collaboration that ‘if we work for them then they will have to work for us or pay us in return’. Kamya began her journey a year back with the intention of “Happy childhood” with the children of Barola community by providing them safe space in form of a library where they could read, write, do craft and many more activities, while we began our journey with the aim of knowledge building of adolescents around gender and sexuality thereby preventing child sexual abuse and building their capacity to challenge any form of gender based violence. 

The journey of collaboration began with sharing of each other’s vision and understanding needs deeply and finding commonalities so that we can effectively work together for the holistic development of children. That’s how Sahas got its first circle of adolescents. We were received with so much love and warmth on the first day of our workshop- Kamya had done all the preparations as we could see the names of adolescents on the white board who would be participating in the workshop, they were previously informed about the session too and other logistics help. It was only in the first session, I saw her struggling to invite participants on time, however from the second workshop we saw participants coming on time which made our work quite smooth. 

Kamya actively took part in various workshop activities, be it small group discussions or supporting participants to share their feelings and thoughts in larger circle. We also had post workshop reflection sessions where all 3 of us discussed positives and areas of improvement, making sure that everyone of us felt heard and implementing any new ideas that come up during the discussion.
As the journey progressed, we saw kids growing beautifully to the extent that now they were more open to learning new things, supporting others who might have missed a session or couldn’t understand a point.

The high point of this intervention was when Kamya said, “Before we talk about reflections, let’s talk about future. I want to do a closure event that could showcase the beautiful work that you people are doing. I am very happy with the workshop processes and the way the entire intervention has come along. The kids are engaging, they are able to understand the concepts and reflect on them. I can see and feel the power of the space as I thought one or another participant would drop out, contrary to this assumption the kids who were not participating got attracted and started engaging which left me surprised. So let’s do this”,

There was no hurry, no competition, we just went with the flow and collaborated on the values of trust, openness, authenticity and with an intention of adding values to the lives of adolescents in terms of building knowledge around the issues which are very much real and alive. This beautifully translated into the reality as we see the same adolescents now being more informed and empathetic. Like they say, “Alone we are smart, together we are brilliant.”   

Initially we met as people from two different organizations, with different vision but with a common intention of holistic development of adolescents and with time the professional relationship equated into building stronger personal relationship. After an interesting and hectic closure day, we spent the evening pausing, reflecting and unburdening the experience of month long intervention and personal stories.

Dinner, late night movie, long drive and the stories just made the whole experience completeJ. This is what we see as personal connect with the work, people and community! Couldn’t agree more to the below lines which very well explain our idea of positive and effective collaboration-

“Despair shows us the limit of our imagination. Imaginations shared create collaboration and collaboration creates community and community inspires Social Change”

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