Happy New Year! As we are now in Phase 3 and gradually expanding the domains of our work and personal lives, we have much to be grateful for and optimistic about. In the later part of this year, schools will implement home-based learning as a regular part of their routine, and I suppose virtual meetings and working from home will continue at the workplace. Virtual meetings and learning while not always preferred or ideal, have been the gains of the pandemic that we will take advantage of whenever appropriate or desired.
Another gain has been the stark demonstration of how inequality affects the low-income and those with less. This is a learning point that we will lock-in as we journey with families who have been badly hit to rebuild their lives. The learning will help us impress on them the precarity of their work, digital access, food security, and persuade them to consider programmes, schemes, and choices that may bring forth more stability for their families.
Change and attempting something new is often a little uncomfortable but perhaps, sitting with something uncomfortable with people we are comfortable with is the first step. After attending 2 sessions of our Girls’ Night, a 14-year-old said that she was surprised by the changes she was experiencing within herself. She never thought that her frustration, confusion and fear arising from personal experiences with sexual harassment could be so clearly understood and explained. This clarity and understanding helped address the helplessness she had felt and she left the sessions feeling more affirmed and empowered. The way she is looking at her disappointments with relationships is also different and in her opinion, healthier. She attributes this to the different views and personal experiences shared by others in the group which created a new way of looking and feeling about her own situation.
This girl did not join the sessions because she knew for sure that they would make her feel better, but only because she felt welcomed in the first place. She stayed because people were listening to each other deeply and respectfully. She told us that she really valued the safe space to listen and to share openly.
From her, I gather that for something new to happen, there has to be both risk and safety. Sounds like a contradiction but taking a risk is not the same as being reckless. As we move into a new year, I wish you tranquility as new experiences befall and the hospitality of listeners. I wish you the awareness of something new every day of the year.