In the month of March we conducted our My Body My Safety programme for the children of a community-based NGO at Thane. Every day the children welcomed us with energetic, special greetings (a sequence of claps!). A few girls would even very kindly volunteer to clean the place for us to sit. The children went from door to door calling out the names of their friends, urging them to come join the session. It was heartening to see their enthusiasm and involvement in learning.
The NGO has their Contact Point in the open space of a community where the children study with their community workers. All the children go to different schools, so we had to work around the availability of each child. We conducted the programme in two open spaces in the community setting. Since the programme for primary grade students was being conducted in the only available open space (due to lack of a more private space), a local lady was kind enough to give us her home for the period of the programme conduction for the older children.
What was heart warming was the wonderful discussion the children had about their future aspirations. They shared their dreams of being a scientist, a businessman, etc. and they all wanted to work hard to change their current economic situation. We do hope that with the messages of safety, they will also absorb messages of equality and empathy and go on to succeed in their respective lives.
Unfortunately, the individual sessions had to be held in an open space, so maintaining the privacy of children was a challenge. We hope to find a better solution for this in the future.
We also conducted the Parent’s Awareness Programme for 12 parents. When I visited the community and interacted with the parents, I noticed that they seemed to be aware that their environment may not be safest for their children. The parents expressed that the various practical aspects such as preventive measures, handling disclosures and the various do’s and don’ts for their child’s safety, taught by us, were very helpful.
Working in community centres offers us a personal connect with the children and their families, thus making it my favourite type of conduction to do!
(Project Officer, Rubaroo)