"Looking back I can name a number of remarkable changes in my life that happened because of my involvement with Butterflies.”
“Prior to my involvement with Butterflies, I was addicted to smoking. I was quite unaware of the bad effects of my habit until I was a participant in one of the health sessions by Butterflies. The videos they showed had images of mouths and livers of cancer patients, caused by smoking tobacco. It was horrifying and an eye opener for me. I decided to distance myself from smoking and although it was quite difficult in the beginning, within three months I was able to overcome my habits. This was only possible because of the counselling, support, encouragement and guidance of the child health educators and the staff of the Children’s Health Co-operative.
“My membership in the Children’s Health Cooperative had a huge effect on my unhealthy behaviours. It has helped me not only to stop smoking but was instrumental in promoting several healthy habits. With my parents’ meagre income, it was always difficult for them to take care of us. Our clothes were torn and we were unclean as we played in filthy surroundings near our jhuggi (shacks). We rarely took a bath and rarely wore clean clothes. There was an open nala (drain) in the village, which I often fell into but never bothered to clean myself afterwards. It risked my health and I fell ill frequently. Now I take regular baths, I change my clothes when they are unclean and wash my clothes regularly, I cut my nails, I brush my teeth every day and also comb my hair. I no longer play in unhygienic surroundings anymore.
“At a community level, Butterflies taught us that we should not litter our surroundings. There used to be heaps of garbage in various places in the community, including right in front of my house. I never bothered about it - my attitude was ‘if others litter, why should I clean it?’ Through Butterflies I have realised that it is the responsibility of each one of us to keep our surroundings clean. It prompted me to clean the garbage in front of my house and I asked my friends to do the same around their houses.
“Along with other children in the community I help educate people about health and hygiene with door to door campaigns, rallies and street plays. Recently we performed a street play on dengue fever and malaria. Whatever I have learned and done to myself and to the community is because of the Children’s Health Co-operative. Looking back I can name a number of remarkable changes in my life that happened because of my involvement with Butterflies.”
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