By Shashikant Parmar, Ashadeep Human Development Centre, India, 2017-18 Diploma Course
My long association with an organisation which is working towards empowering down trodden and voiceless communities has enabled me to attend the Training for Transformation Diploma at the Grail Centre.
I am an advocate by profession, but am involved in the training programmes besides the legal practice. I have been conducting training programmes on Value Education, Personality development, and Social Awareness for children and youth. I also conduct training programmes for various groups like paralegals, social workers, institutions, etc. I am involved in family counselling besides practicing law, that way I am also a legal activist.
The TFT Diploma Course has enriched me in various ways. I have acquired facilitation skills that include communication skills, attentive listening, and observing group dynamics. After attending the Diploma course I had conducted five workshops of which one was exclusively for women, wherein 65 women participated. This was on the constitution of India and women’s rights. One was for college ladies, where 150 female students along with their faculty members participated. In this workshop, the basic common laws, more particularly, laws affecting the rights of women were addressed. Another was for political awareness wherein 55 men and women participated. The focus of this workshop was mainly on the right to vote and the choice of right candidates. Another workshop was conducted for 40 employees of the telephone department. In this workshop rights of the employees were taken up.
A workshop was conducted for a group of 30 people, and focused on training for trainers. In all the above workshops, I used basic tools that I learned during TFT. Designing a workshop is an important skill I acquired and developed during my training at the Grail Centre. In the past I used to conduct workshops but I did not make use of a design. How to plan an entire workshop was a new learning for me. During the workshops, I used Paulo Freire’s key principles like problem-posing, dialogue, action-reflection, radical transformation, etc.
I have personally benefited from TFT in many ways. It has widened my understanding and developed critical thinking, action reflection, and questioning the situations and systems. The work of transformation is always challenging at personal level too. I have been working in this field for the last 20 years. I used to get upset with the non cooperation from the victims or stakeholders, but during TFT I learned non-cooperation from the concerned stakeholders only mean they are not ready for change and need better assistance. Practicing the principles of Paulo Freire would become tools in bringing about change in the community. It has created a very positive impact on me personally, the work of family counseling, and in conducting workshops for different groups.
I had been lucky enough to be associated with the organization where one of the team members is DELTA trained and has been actively involved in this field for the last 40 years. I am also in contact with Fr. Xavier who is a facilitator of TFT and founder of the organization where I am working. I have had the opportunities to work with and collaborate with likeminded people that give me strength and a support system that is readily available.