Friday, September 26, 2008

CSIM Session 5

VALUEable or inVALUEable ??

Both I would say... That's how I will describe the few hours of our interaction with Mr. & Mrs. Chandran. The title slide projected 'Values and beliefs' as the topic for the day, I thought it would be a moral science class. S0mething like - you should do this you should not do this and probably some stories too (tats one reason why I liked these classes in school).

The class started with the duo (Mr and Mrs Chandran) asking us a very basic question - What do you understand by Value? This question stumped me big time. We keep using this word so very often and when I was asked to define value I was BLINKING. Values are learned beliefs like honesty is a value, punctuality is a value. As we practice these values they become habits or virtues and when a group of people exhibit this value it becomes ethics. That's the definition incase someone asks you.

This class was so filled with exercises that we never felt the time passing by. We did multiple hands on sessions. We began identifying the values which are important for each of us. Following that we had to give priority of the identfied 7. Once that was done, we were asked to split a sum of 10,000Rs against these 7 in varied proportion. At the end we did some basic math like add, multiply and found out which value rates high for each one. This gave us an idea of what takes more priority for us - power/position, aesthetic sense, social/helping others etc. This was a wonderful exercise which re-iterated to me that I am a person who loves being with people and enjoy helping people.

We then came to an interesting conversation on can a project that works for a social cause be profit oriented. This one is many people's favourite. We all agreed on the fact that social projects need not always be non-profit ones. As we reached this point, there was a confusion in distinguishing a business from a social project. If both are profit oriented models what is the difference in them. And here is where the duo helped us see the key difference - in a social cause the profit comes from the work that is done and not at the expense of the customer.

The session turned more and more captivating as we identified that our discussions were bringing forth the on-the-field qualities one needs to be a social worker. Some of the most important ones are
1. Understand the people you work for. Read between the lines - both verbal and non-verbal communication
2. Be objective as you hear to the people. Never judge using your value system.
We were given a wonderful example for this
A lady comes to you - she is pregnant for the 7th time - all the children born so far are either deaf or dumb - she is suffering from syphilis - what would you suggest - abortion??
The question left us in a fix - atleast I did not know what to say - couple of folks suggested an abortion as the chances of the 7th child being normal is less. The rest were against it as they could not accept the whole idea of taking life off.
And know what? The 7th child was Beethoven.

As a social worker it helps to be a
1. empathetic listener
2. have cultural sensitivity [I came across a mail on Bihar relief activity where they were urging people to donate sarees. The women of Bihar have never worn anything other than saree. The person/organization here was culturally sensitive to the needs of the people.]
3. Gender sensitivity
4. good communicator
5. Establish trust

The most important thing is to be one with the mass. That's one reason why Gandhi was loved and Nehru was respected.

Before we realised the clock struck 6 and the session was over. It was - Invaluably valuble.

Hats off to the duo - they had so much energy in them to keep the class going for 4 hrs. At their age, I am not sure if I will be able to talk for 30 minutes continuously. They were so knowledgable and down to earth.

Thanks to CSIM - We are getting a life-time opportunity to meet such great people and spend time with them.


Ramya said...

hey aarthi! how are you??:) i was looking up referrers of visitors to my blog and found you in the list!:) howz it going??:) by the way, i moved my blog to a new location:
you can visit me there now!:)
i am sorry for the inconvenience.. you'll have to update your sidebar and all..:)

Aarthi said...

I am doing good Ramya. How are u? You are amazing yaar, the pace at which u read. Wish I too could do some quick reading :-) I will update my links to point to your new blog.