A resident of Chandwara village, 16-year-old Mausina Bano has been an ardent admirer of CARE’s Join My Village field staffer Saba Fatima, who is in charge of Masauli block in Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh. Ever since 2012, when they first met during one of Join My Village’s Maternal and Neonatal Health meetings, Mausina has been following Fatima around the village to spread awareness on maternal health, and has proven to be a great support to her.
Mausina says, “From these meetings I started to feel I was no less than the others. I started taking care of my hygiene and found the will to do something more.” She started following Fatima for all home visits in the area. Fatima says, “Mausina calls other girls to attend the meetings, assists me voluntarily and helps impart information on safe health practices.”
Mausina and her brother Mohommad Islam are both affected by polio, but the ailment does not keep her from studying. “I study because if I stay inside I’ll do only household work whereas at school I get lots of information though my workload does increase”, says Mausina.
Mausina gives an example of how Fatima helped her gain confidence. “She told me to go to the government office and get a handicap certificate made for both me and my brother”, says Mausina. Fatima pushed her to do this independently and did not go along with her. Because of this, Mausina feels that there is no work that she cannot do.
From these meetings I started to feel I was no less than the others. I started taking care of my hygiene and found the will to do something more.
Mausina says, “I used to not do anything before. People in the village told me about this lady (Fatima). I liked how she spoke with confidence and what she spoke about- giving new information to girls like me. I understood what she said. Now I follow her whenever I get the chance as she is a big inspiration for me.”
In her own home, Mausina has implemented what all she learnt at the maternal health meetings. “My brother’s wife was pregnant, so I made sure she ate properly, and took care so that she had a healthy delivery. If I had not gone to the meetings then how would my family have gotten this information?” she asks with gratitude.
Join My Village, through CARE, works with adolescent girls like Mausina to enhance their negotiation skills and provide a forum where they can learn health and sanitation related safe behaviour.