I am Ganesh and I have been a facilitator of a Listening and Discussion Group (LDG) for the Change Starts at Home project for the last five months.
I have a group of 10 married men in my village. The group meets every week and listens to the radio program “Samajhdari” (Mutual Understanding). After listening to the program we have a discussion on the various topics and subjects raised during the program. As the name of the project, ‘Change Starts at Home’, suggests we focus on different ways and approaches which can help build a strong, healthy and happy relationship between a husband and a wife – starting from the home.
There have been many changes in our community since the project started. Whenever any of my group members are walking on the street with their wives, the community members often refer to them as a Samjhdar (Understanding) couple…The program has been slowly exploring different aspects of marital relationships and has been nudging my group members to do the same in their own married lives .. This has played a part in bringing positive changes in their own lives. They have also realized that there should not be any discrimination based on gender. For example, being a man doesn’t mean that they should not do any work around the house and there is no such thing as woman being limited to only household chores.
There are different issues we discuss every week, for example: gender identities, roles and respect, violence and its types etc., because of these discussions and the radio program we have been able to take a closer look at ourselves as well as our relationship with our spouse. This has been a major contributing factor towards having such positive changes in the members of my group. We have only finished 20 weeks so far, but we are already seeing so many changes in them. This makes me believe strongly that in the near future, not only will these member make positive changes in their lives but will also have positive influences among the community members around them.
The training (I receive) alongside conducting the weekly sessions has taught me to be self-aware about myself as well as my relationship with my spouse. It has taught me the importance of effective communication which has helped me to have good relationships at home. My relationship with my wife has changed a lot compared to how it was a year ago, we are a lot closer to each other now. I have changed a lot during this period and hope to share the things I have learned with my friends and community members.