Rita is a young mother who lives in Phule Nagar community. She visited FMCH during her second trimester of pregnancy, after being identified by the FMCH Field Officers during their field visits. She moved to her village for her delivery but returned to the Mumbai with her newborn. The FMCH team spent a lot of time with Rita once she was back.We made repeated home visits, counseled her several times to explain the importance of our First 1000 days program. But all this didn’t quite work. Rita was skeptical about the program and wasn’t sure if she really needed the support.
The FMCH team then decided to introduce Rita to another mother, who has been a regular participant of all FMCH programs. She shared her experience with the FMCH team, and what she felt was benefiting her by joining the 1000 Days’ program.
Rita was partially convinced and agreed to come to the community center for one week, provided she and her child benefited. The FMCH team counseled her on on breastfeeding, and her own care during lactation. We focused on her nutrition intake and ensuring she is staking care of both herself and her child. Very soon we found Rita to be a regular at all FMCh activities. In her words – “I didn’t know anything about health and nutrition and for my older children I had to run a lot to hospital and ended up spending a lot of money. I didn’t believe what I was doing for my child was wrong as I was following village remedies. After I visited FMCH for a week and saw changes in child’s weight, my husband and me started trusting them. After coming to FMCH, I gained information and stopped giving gripe water and other things to my child. Now that I see changes I tell other women from community, they refuse but I still continue to visit FMCH as prevention helped to fewer hospital visits and save money”.
In the year 2012, FMCH launched the first Community Support Volunteers initiative in Dhobi Ghat, a step towards bringing sustainable change within the community through change agents from within.
Sarita was one of the first CSVs engaged with FMCH, who took over the responsibility of spreading the word on good heath, hygiene and nutrition practices in her neighbourhood, and also providing support to mothers and families for their ante-natal care visits, FMCH clinic visits or referral visits.
Sarita, a mother of two young adult boys, moved to Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai after her marriage. Due to family issues she had not been able to complete her formal education. However, she had always been interested in working for her community, and when the opportunity to be a CSV came up, she grabbed it with great enthusiasm. She spent an entire year as a CSV with FMCH before the opening for a paid position was announced. And it was enthusiasm and tremendous faith in FMCH’s work that made her the obvious choice for the position.
Since then, Sarita has not just been working with FMCH as our Field Officer but also investing in her own development. She completed a Para-Professional certificate course, a counseling certificate course as well as an English-speaking course and finally her Higher Secondary education (12th standard) while managing the full-time job and family. Extremely popular both in the team and the community for her sense of humour and devotion to her work, Sarita has been an inspiration for the FMCH team.