Unlocking Human Potential: A Rural Perspective
Balamma, the “grand old lady” of the village, trudged toward the dais, holding a pair of scissors in her trembling hands. She was ready for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new hospital that was being inaugurated. The audience clapped loudly in appreciation as Balamma declared the hospital open.
Tears rolled down Vijaya’s eyes as she saw her mother-in-law, now an octogenarian, being felicitated. Vijaya was Balamma’s older daughter-in-law and had seen her mother-in-law’s ascent as a Sarpanch (head) of the village. It had been a long and arduous journey for Balamma and Vijaya was not only a witness, but also a part of it.
Memories of her own difficult labor took Vijaya back by a couple of decades. She remembered that evening hour of incessant rain as Balamma was seated next to her, holding her hand and reassuring her: “You are in safe hands. Don’t worry!” Balamma’s words were measured and rolled out softly. Vijaya was in pain and the delivery was being conducted at home, as was the case with most of the deliveries in the village that lacked any primary healthcare. Even in crisis, Balamma seemed composed and in control.
Balamma’s family lived in a remote village that was challenged from a healthcare perspective. The healthcare facilities were non-existent, and it took a minimum of a couple of hours to reach the
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