I have always noticed the eyes of the grandmothers and older women who live on the way to the Samunnat office. Every day we exchange our greetings but only from outside when I am there or with the ladies. I had a feeling that they wanted to see and give their compassion and love. I was thinking about a way I could spend time with all of Samunnat ladies and these older ladies, our elders. Finally we decided to arrange a Samunnat Open day. We bought some special leaves and cotton to make their time really useful and so they felt like they were contributing. I wanted them to feel that they are very Special for us. I wanted them to realize they had the capacity to support without being dependent with their son or husband. We have a culture that in 3 stages of being a woman we always rely on a man: first our father, then our husband, and finally our son. I wanted to help them understand that they are not a burden.
We invited 8 women neighbors and had a get together sharing in our child care centre room. We had family of all generations! We broke the usual cultural tradition when generally organizations make long boring speeches. We talked clearly about Samunnat mission and goals and introduced each other. I also told them why I wanted this get together and why we were making the leaf plates and cotton candlelight. I explained how it will be useful.
They must have loved it because now they want this kind of meeting every month. They also want to contribute their afternoon time with some income generating ideas with us every month. They assured us that they will give love and moral support to the ladies who are staying in Samunnat shelter. They all feel the part of Samunnnat Family. They had fruits and chiya because they were fasting for the month of Sharwan, especially on Monday. We have already got orders for our cotton candlelights to the value of 5000/- and the neighbors said they will buy our leaf plates when they have their special puja.