Glimpse 1: Personal Transformation
Mr. Shrutarshi Banerjee lives in Kolkata, and if you are lucky enough to meet him, he will be introduced an entrepreneur, a manager, and a business partner. His life has changed so much from the days of pre-vocational class engagement that were not leading toward employment or other valued roles.
Several of his supporters, including his family, were exposed to the ideas of inclusive practice and valued roles through workshops and collaborations in West Bengal, and Amrita Roy Chowdhury was a notable early-adopter in West Bengal and across India. She wanted to have the experience of helping a few people move into valued social roles, and see the impact on the larger business community. Change-agentry on the individual and the societal scale are Amrita's passion.
Shrutarshi began his entrepreneurial career as one of three partners starting up a small-scale catering business known as Sip n Bite, with a few customers and some excellent experience. Mr. Banerjee is a person many people would quickly judge as not able to work, but his support team was determined to help people see his potential, and see him succeed. He is now a partner in a sidewalk café business located on a classic corner crossing in Kolkata, serving a lovely breakfast al fresco. Mr. Banerjee handles the business side of things by taking the orders, collecting the money, and making change. His business has been written up in many media formats, and is a part of the leading edge, up-and-coming business trends in booming Kolkata. At the same time, he shatters myths and stereotypes about people with autism, and does his family proud.
Amrita and her team understand from their exposure to Social Role Valorization the importance of highlighting the most valuable aspects of a role, while making sure the person also is authentically in the role. This understanding that people may need invisible support to more fully fill the role is an important SRV implementation concept. The transformation in Mr. Banerjee's life serves as a testimony to the importance of valued roles, and the potential to create valued space for everyone at the community table.
Glimpse 2: Personal Transformation
When Bhawna and Rosy left the shelter home, they owned nothing – not a stitch of clothing, a photograph, or a memento to tell their story, to hold their history, and ground them. Those who assisted these young women to leave that shelter home in the north of India and move to a typical home in a village understood the importance of having personal possessions. They are a form of asset, not only a financial asset but an identity asset.
One of the wounds often inflicted on marginalized people is that they experience grinding poverty – material as well as financial. The team who supported Bhawna and Rosy understood this well, and have worked to assist each young woman to develop her own personal possessions. Rosy and Bhawna are wonderful hostesses, and when they welcome you to their home, they are so anxious to show you their bedrooms, their almiras and, specifically, the things that they own now that they have had a fresh start. One of the reasons institutionalized people often have few possessions is that they are often stolen or create problems between people living in the institution. One of the important reassurances that Bhawna and Rosy have is that their space is theirs alone, their possessions are theirs alone, and they will be safeguarded and protected.
In SRV training, we think of the many wounds experienced by marginalized people as bricks on the backs of already vulnerable people. As a response, we recommend that people find ways to prevent, reduce, and compensate. Helping both these young women develop personal possessions that express them, define them, and give them deep joy and pride is one way to take bricks off.
Glimpse 3: Personal Transformation
In the city of Bengaluru, the families and leaders of Bubbles Centre and Pragati joined together to empower families to engage powerful, inclusive, person centered tools to help imagine and move towards positive and possible futures for the students and young adults they serve. Within their method, a group of families joined hands to learn to facilitate the PATH process as well as Personal Futures Planning. Over 20 such processes have been led by parent facilitators to work towards full futures for 20 individual children and adults, ranging in age from 5-35. As a result, young Maaya has gathered with over 20 family members, friends, teachers and neighbors to create an inclusive future. Arvind explored and developed a passion for care and healing of the earth through sustainable farming and water saving techniques, and Aditya sketched his desired future out, leading to his first experience in independent living in his own place. PATH is a wonderful way to create a vision of valued roles, and works so well when laid upon a foundation of Social Role Valorization.