Apnalaya’s Annual Work Plans, and the freshly crafted ‘Theory of Change’ were unveiled to over 65 staff our Annual ‘Off-site’-cum-staff development retreat, which took place in Diveagar from 25th-27th February, 2019.
An important feature in Apnalaya’s annual calendar, the off-site retreat is one of the few times every year when almost all Apnalaya staff come together and unite.
“It is vital that the ‘team’ comes together for sharing, learning, planning and motivation – and to stay abreast of the big picture. Extreme closeness to the object may hamper our vision,” said Apnalaya CEO, Dr Arun Kumar.
The retreat consisted of reflecting on the year that was, planning for the years ahead, team building exercises and copious amount of fun.
Inspiration – On the first day, the staff was divided into teams and all teams shared what motivates them to work in this field, and many inspiring stories emerged from their experience.
- Bano Apa, a Field Officer who has been associated with Apnalaya for over 25 years, spoke about an incident where they encountered a woman who was forced to tie her one-and-half-year old child up because she had to go for work. “When I saw that, I instantly started crying. Seeing people go to such tough circumstances, so much so that they tie their child up is really heart-breaking,” she said. She then spoke about how Apnalaya helped the woman by providing quality daycare, including schooling.
- Rajani, Deputy Programme Manager for health spoke about how a woman, after being a beneficiary of Apnalaya, stood up against consanguineous marriage in her family and succeeded in doing so. She stated that she did so because her son was born with a disability.
- Taslim Apa, a health worker with Apnalaya spoke about how she was the first daughter-in-law in the family to go outside, to finish her 12th and to work. “I faced many challenges then, when I said that I wanted to study and work. My father-in-law was against it, but my husband fought for me and told me to study without worrying about it,” she said. She also faced many difficulties from the people from the community itself. “Many people tried to put me down, the area is such that you can’t escape it. With my husband and Apnalaya behind me, I faced the challenges head on and I am now a health worker with Apnalaya,” she added.
Team Building – The event was filled with team building activities and learning – including a focused session on how Apnalaya prepares the individual to work collectively
Cementing the Citizenship Approach – A session was held to discuss how to bring the ‘citizenship approach’ more fully into the Education and Livelihoods and Health verticals, including how we can link them to the rights based approach.
The Future – The Annual Work Plan of the three different verticals was then shared by the senior management team, giving the staff an insight into the coming year. A thorough discussion on expansion and the future also took place.
Cultural Night – The retreat ended on a grand note with cultural night with members of the staff giving robust performances. From energetic dance numbers to soulful singing, the staff of Apnalaya is undoubtedly talented. Certificates were also given out to the star performers of 2019 from different verticals.
On the day we were to leave the staff members came together again to reflect on the past two days, to share their leanings. The six-hour long journey was a first for many staff! For those staff that are from the M East ward, it was a welcome opportunity to step out, relax and reflect.
“The trip was great for all of us. During the year the levels of motivation can go down. But in these last few days I’ve got enough motivation to last a full year!” said Sabiha, a Field Officer.