Spotlight On… Hanna Prathibha

Posted on: 2023-06-15

Hanna Prathibha knows firsthand the value that comes when you live a life dedicated to prayer and joining with others to create transformational change in your country. Hanna is a team player. She loves to come alongside others and help make vision reality. She has been instrumental in helping leading Christian organizations such as Sarah’s Covenant Homes and India Christiana Ministries (ICM) to change care for orphans with disabilities in India. Together they worked with government using professional rehabilitation to find families for over 80 children with disabilities brought key government leaders and non-governmental organizations together in a historic convention, and currently are helping social workers across India face their toughest challenges.

She came across World Without Orphans (WWO) at the WWO Global Forum in 2016 and says that in many ways WWO has literally changed her life.

“I can say that WWO has changed my life,” said Hanna. “Not only did I receive healing and refreshment by attending the Global Forum, but our organization in India also saw a shift in direction after learning more about orphan care and how it could be changed in India. Through the WWO network, we were connected with Ian Forber Pratt, Deputy Executive Director, CERI, who was working with national government leaders and working on policies for foster care in India.

Ian became a very valuable mentor to us as we worked to advocate for family tracing, family reunification for the previously abandoned children and in the adoption of children with disabilities. We also made important inroads at the state level and in 2016, we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring 13 districts in Southern India together with government leaders and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). We used training that we received from WWO to advocate for change in orphan care for children with disabilities.”

Hanna went on to earn her Masters of Social Work (Counseling)(MSWC) and incorporating techniques she had learned from WWO’s forum.

Hanna’s involvement with WWO continued to grow when she started receiving trauma training from WWO team member, and partner, Ruby Johnston. Ruby held training for social workers in Hyderbaud, India in 2018. Hanna’s involvement with WWO continued to grow when she got trained in 2019 Forum by Ruby Johnston in the curriculum to help keep families together.

“One of the biggest struggles we face as social workers is trying to find ways to help the family to engage with their child with disabilities,” said Hanna. “Often, these children have been left with us because they come from broken homes where a single parent or grandparents have been trying to raise them. Due to poverty or health reasons, they feel they cannot care for this child. We have seen the positive impact on the development of the child when we have been successful at keeping their family engaged by visits.”

Fun Facts

Favorite color: Used to be yellow; currently she likes combinations of color such as yellow and blue in sunsets and sunrises
Favorite food: South Indian Vegetarian Thali

Hanna has seen the impact on social workers as they continue to learn more from the ongoing WWO Roadmap training in May 2021.

“More and more social workers are receiving the WWO training, especially on “Parenting Tips” for families dealing with trauma and the tips helped with rapid reunification of children in COVID”said Hanna. “The resources are empowering social workers to provide better support to the families and encourage more engagement with their children.”

Hanna resonates with WWO’s training in how to live a life refreshed constantly by God. She said for her it makes perfect sense because she has been living that way since she was a child.

“WWO’s training on “Living Refreshed” reflects my daily practice of staying connected to God,” said Hanna. “I get up early to pray and later in the morning spend time with God. Journaling is a huge part of “living refreshed” for me. I make this part of my routine as I do worship. Worship for me, is like going to the living water and in it you are refreshed.

When I look at my life and doors God has opened for me to help children with disabilities in India, I know He has been carrying me on His wings. It can be challenging to put in good boundaries and to practice self-care but I have learned how to swim it.”