In the middle of a bustling city is a tight-knit community of families who do their best to provide for each other by sorting through garbage for their income. Many of the parents are raising their families within an environment they themselves were raised, meaning school wasn’t always a viable option, or their educational opportunities were cut short to help provide for their families.
Within this community is an educational center run by two nationals, and Back2Back has long partnered with them in providing a hot meal every night and tutoring when it is needed. Just a few years ago, the partnership deepened when a Strong Families program started in the same community. Strong Families programming allows children to remain with their families, flourishing in their own homes and receiving holistic care through tutoring, social-emotional curriculum, parenting classes, and advanced educational opportunities.
Parents involved in this program commit to taking part in 26 lessons learning about trauma, triggers, healthy communication, and listening skills. The classes were held virtually to keep everyone safe and were led by three staff members. Parents recently completed all 26 lessons, and their time and dedication was honored with a graduation ceremony.
Sampath Burla, Back2Back staff and Manager of Strong Families India, purchased caps and gowns for each parent to wear during the ceremony. They received certificates of completion and were given the chance to speak, if they so chose.
“It was such a special event for the parents and the staff,” shared Julie Mowery, Back2Back India Director. “Almost all of the parents joined the program with little to no ability to read, so seeing their excitement and persistence to learn new things and grow as parents was heartwarming.”
Many parents spoke at the ceremony, and their speeches all contained similar themes – they realized after 26 lessons that people believed in them and wanted to see them succeed. One mom said, “I feel a renewed desire for my own children to complete high school and reach new goals and achievements; I understand the power of having people rooting for you now.”