Sanjog has firmly believed in the inclusive voices of the survivors of trafficking. It has been our experience that without hearing from the survivors, the essential stakeholders are missing important perspectives of the experience of the survivors. On a wider view, trauma informed approach identifies, acknowledges and responds to various needs of survivors like the need for safety on aspects of physical, emotional and environmental. One way to achieve this has been to emphasize trustworthiness and transparency. Over the years Sanjog has consciously created this safe space which has provided the survivors the opportunity to share their stories in a supported manner and most importantly without judgement. Collaboration and mutuality has the ability to identify the inherent hierarchy in a system and have the ability to overcome the shortcoming. This practice in Sanjog and Utthan has been able to create a system that shifts the paradigm from an existing hierarchical model of care to one that represents a dynamic partnership.

To engage in this partnership strengthening process between Sanjog and Utthan, we decided to conduct an exercise of snakes and ladders. Members of Sanjog talked about the snakes (challenges/difficulties) and the ladders( strengths and supports) in their relationship with Utthan and then wrote a letter to Utthan sharing those experiences. This was shared with Utthan and their responses were collated.

It has been more than a few years since Sanjog started working in partnership with Utthan – a group of survivor leaders. In all these years it has been a boat ride on calm waters as well as whirlpools. Utthan has come a long way from being a child taking baby steps to someone who are now taking decisions that are not only affecting their lives but are also having an impact on the lives of other survivors of trafficking.

As a friend and supporter of Utthan, Sanjog has experienced the growth of Utthan and with it a change has also come in Sanjog regarding the role of a mentor and a guide. Sanjog felt the need to share with Utthan about the success and challenges faced during the course of this partnership.

Sanjog facilitated the implementation of a reflection tool with Utthan on the experience of Sanjog team. The tool was designed on the grounds of snake ladder game. The ladder signified the strength of the relationship between Utthan and Sanjog and the snakes represented some of the challenges faced by Sanjog while working with Utthan.

A letter was drafted by Sanjog with inputs from team members. Utthan responded with openness and their views on the findings that emerged from the tool. Some of the responses that came from the Utthan members are:
1.We were sceptical that there will be observations that will be poles apart. We were expecting that there will be great admonishments. But, we found the sharing to be very balanced and that there are challenges and strengths that have been equally given importance in the reflection analysis.
2.On the point of sustainability of the group, Utthan is concerned that will the group be able to survive a fund crunch or not. There are regular discussions among the group members on this. And somehow this has made the members think about working closely with the SHGs that they have formed. They are thinking of self sustainability through business and entrepreneurship facilitated by these SHGs.
3.One other thing that came out was that inspite of the best intentions of Sanjog and Utthan, it has not been possible to engage into a more personal relationship apart from the task oriented associations. It would be lovely to go out for fun as one member (Nasima) shared.
4.Utthan has generously thanked the Sanjog team for this initiative and have said that they welcome the challenges pointed out.
5.One of the most important feedback that has been shared is that Utthan has learnt from Sanjog is how to work with partnership. They have shared that they have always carried it forward and whenever they have been able to , they have shared it in relevant platforms.

Team Sanjog |
Monday , June 22, 2020