Mohima (India)

Acquiring Skills, Knowledge, and Confidence 

Mohima answers questions about things she has learned through the Learning Conversations.Young Mohima strolls through her village, along with a few of her friends, including a woman she affectionately calls Anwara Didi—or big sister. Anwara, a native of the area, is a recruiter and counselor for Freedom from Hunger's Learning Conversations program. Over the past few months, she has become a mentor to Mohima and the other young women who participate in the program's weekly educational sessions.

In their Learning Conversations, the girls and their mothers join together with the counselors for lessons about health and hygiene, finances and society issues they might not otherwise have had the chance to fully understand. The meetings are fun and engaging, filled with songs, games and laughter. And they are packed with essential knowledge that can help them make smart, healthy decisions about their lives.

As they walk, the girls talk about the information they have gleaned from their discussions and the importance and benefits of sharing it with their peers and family members. “There were so many things we did not know and should have asked,” says Mohima. “We know them now, and we also know now how to ask for information, and that we should ask for it.”

The Learning Conversations lessons present very tangible results, even before the girls have completed the program. Mohima readily shares her knowledge and resources with her family and others. When her aunt recently became ill with diarrhea, Mohima knew she needed a treatment regimen of oral rehydration solution, soft rice and coconut water. In the past, the people of her village would have relied on old customs for treatment, such as withholding fluids, which actually made the condition worse.

Learning Conversations group meets for a lesson.There is also regular instruction about saving money and using it wisely. Every week, the counselors give each girl two rupees, which they can use as they wish. Mohima always spends one rupee on food and saves the other. She hopes that one day she'll have enough to start her own embroidery business.  Mohima values the opportunity to contribute to her family. “My savings is sometimes all the money there is to buy food. That makes me feel useful to my family.”

By participating in Learning Conversations, Mohima and the others have been given a chance to live their lives to the fullest. They're acquiring significant skills and the confidence they need to take charge, to avoid the pitfalls of poverty and hunger, and to help others in their community do the same.

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