Conducted in local government recognized and government aided schools, ‘Saarthi’ is an awareness drive for middle schoolers about the signs, dangers and redressal mechanisms related to sexual abuse. Children are provided comprehensive talks, material and made to participate in discussions revolving around concepts like ‘good touch bad touch’ and child care helplines established to safeguard their interests in times of need. Personal hygiene is also stressed upon.
A special session on menstrual hygiene and awareness is also held for and by female students. This event is a step towards YIMF playing its part as a conscientious contributor to the holistic welfare of the society; beginning from the very grassroots.
The Young Ignited Minds Foundation has, so far, conducted the Saarthi drive in 12 local government recognized and government aided schools in the State of Punjab. Of these 12 schools, 10 were covered under our CSR partnership with ONGC for the year 2019-20.
We plan to conduct the Saarthi drive in over 150 schools, in the year 2020-21 and are at advance stages of entering into a CSR partnership with reputed organizations such as ONGC.
Our Saarthi Video
The widespread victimization of children is responsible for a variety of physical and mental-health related consequences affecting children well into their adult years. Abuse and neglect are defined as “injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child”. This abuse can be of several kinds according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) – physical, mental, emotional, psychological or in the form of neglect or exploitation. It brings about circumstances causing harm to a child’s health, welfare, and safety. Child abuse, in its various forms can be found everywhere in India – in cities and rural homes, in the homes of the rich and the poor, and in the streets and schools.
Absence of monetary investment and lack of economic capacity are important concerns. But child abuse knows no class or livelihood barriers, or age buffers. It threatens and afflicts children up and down the economic ladder, and up and the 0–18 age spectrum. The IMA recognizes the need for diagnostic detection of children at risk—and the importance of finding ways to act to help children who appear to be at risk.
A Government of India, Ministry of Women & Child Development (2007) survey showed that the prevalence of all forms of child abuse is extremely high (physical abuse
(66%), sexual abuse (50%) and emotional abuse (50%).1 A study by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), con- ducted amongst 6,632 children respondents, in 7 states; revealed 99% children face corporal punishment in schools.2
The statistics are simply shocking. A study by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s children’s foundation depicted the reporting of sexual crimes against children to have increased by 34 per cent in the past three years, but the number of investigating agencies or courts have remained the same. According to a study by the National Commission for Protection of child rights (NCPCR) in 2017, about 53 per cent of kids surveyed reported to have faced one or the other form of sexual abuse.
ROLE OF THE COMMUNITY
Wherever the parents are unable to take care and protect the child, the proximate community and non-governmental organisations must take up more caring responsibility, with due diligence and also due benevolence.
Education, Empowerment and Enabling Mechanisms: Families and the community must be educated, informed and enabled so that they can provide care and protection to their children. All those entrusted with the child’s upbringing and development must learn that the best approaches are non-violent. Parental guidance and basic sup- port to vulnerable families must be expanded.
Attitudes, Traditions, Customs, Behaviour & Practices: There is need to understand social norms and traditions and their effect on children and their right to safety—and to condemn harmful practices and support those that are positively protective. A major attitudinal change in civil society is called for. Any institution that senses this should make the first move.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
- This event has the underlying objective of social welfare and emancipation of children in particular.
- Awareness Generation – on Child Rights, Child Protection, Menstrual and Personal Hygiene.
- Education, Empowerment and Enabling Mechanisms with specialised lectures that shall be delivered by university level students.
- Constant engagement with the teachers and targeted students by our student volunteers throughout the year post the seminar.
- Distribution of small, specially curated booklets to the students and ensuring that every student understands its importance.
- Intended to be conducted in local government recognised and government aided schools.
- Children to be provided adequate guidance, material and encouragement to participate in discussions revolving around concepts like ‘good touch bad touch’ and child care helplines established to safeguard their interests in times of need.
- A special session on menstrual hygiene and awareness to also be held for and by female students.
Our monitoring mechanism has the following –
- Student volunteers adopt the schools where the project is to be carried out.
- These volunteers are tasked with visiting the schools at the intervals of 2 months post the conduction of the event for the entire year for the purposes of impact assessment and for taking up follow up queries.
Furthermore, we propose to submit progress reports after each month or after each completion of 5 schools or as and when required.
- Monthly project progress reports – By 2nd week of the next month.
- Monthly finance reports–By 2nd week of the next month.
- One final impact report- At the completion of the program.
- One finance report (final budget utilization as against the support budget).
With our engagement with the children, we plan to enhance the knowledge of school children for self-protection and the realization of their rights.
SAARTHI SESSION IN JATHEDAR BALOUR SINGH MEMORIAL SCHOOL, SAMANA (PUNJAB)
The assessment is based on open-ended questions administered through focus group discussions with stakeholders, mainly adolescent girls, boys and their respective classroom teachers.
Structured questions are designed to use in the Focused Group Discussions and focused on the following areas:
- To understand knowledge gained by the target group on issues related to Child abuse, Menstrual Hygiene and Personal Hygiene
- .To explore the extent to which the target group were able to access resources.
- To understand methodologies developed by project to encourage participation of adolescents in program implementation.
Different sets of questions are prepared for each group of stakeholders, namely project, leaders, children, and parents of children, community leaders and teachers.
The topics of questions are changed according to the role of each set of stakeholders in the project. The questions explore changes in the perceptions of adolescents related to their development, protection and participation rights. At the beginning of group discussions, icebreakers and games are conducted in order to make the adolescents to feel more relaxed with strangers.
During discussions, participants are facilitated to discuss aspects of the project amongst themselves. Documentation of group discussions is done through photographs, audiotapes and written notes. During individual interviews, questions explore girls’ experience, knowledge, practice and attitudes.