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46 Volunteers participate in the Training Workshop

CHILDLINE India Foundation » CIF Events » 46 Volunteers participate in the Training Workshop

- Tabassum Pangarkar, Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Programme, CHILDLINE

Mumbai, 19th and 20th October, 2013: CHIDLINE India Foundation (CIF) successfully trained a total of 46 volunteers through an extensive two day ‘Child Sexual Abuse Awareness’ training workshop at Tony Hall, Antonio D’souza School and College, Dadar. Lady volunteers across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane came together to learn about Child Rights in India, various components and effects of Child Sexual Abuse and the laws framed in our Constitution that cater solely to children.

Since January 2011, CHILDLINE has been running the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Programme (CSAAP) in schools throughout Mumbai. Till date CSAAP has sensitized over 2, 60, 000 children across 400 Schools about Safe Touch, Unsafe Touch and Personal Safety Rules. These awareness sessions have helped many children to come up and share their own experiences of abuse. This is a very crucial and sensitive issue and to go and talk about it with children, volunteers need to have a basic understanding of the issue and as well as basic skills to handle disclosure. This Training workshop’s objective is to equip all volunteers with an overview of CSA related issues and to provide them with practical communication skills to prepare them for taking on the task of sensitizing children in schools.

The workshop began with a session on how CHILDLINE 1098 functions across the country currently servicing yearly 4.5 million calls, and was conducted by Mr. Kiran More a CHILDLINE Project Officer at the Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT). Mr. Nishit Kumar, Head Communication & Strategic Initiatives, CIF, and an expert in Child Protection, conducted a session about Child Protection and Child Rights in India. Starting with a test on 'Rights in India'; Mr. Kumar took the participants through the Rights given to the Citizens of India by the Constitution, and those specific to children, while introducing them to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It was observed that more than half of the people scored above ten, which shows their good knowledge about Child Rights in India, but there was not a single participant who got 20 out 20. Participants shared that exercises involved in this session were a reality check for them regarding their knowledge about Child Rights in India.

The major part of the first day of the workshop was based on understanding the issue of CSA and also handling disclosures of CSA Cases. Ms. Suchismita Bose, Director, The Foundation, briefed about what is Child Sexual Abuse, its impact, who are the abusers, physical and psychological signs shown by children who are facing abuse and how to handle first disclosure. This information was given to volunteers to prepare them to screen children who are facing abuse and to provide them with the basic skills to reach out to them. One of the volunteer’s shared that she had never heard about a thing like ‘INCEST’ and after attending this session she will be more alert while interacting with children and people. Participants had many questions like how should disclosures be handled, what happens in cases where parents are the abuser etc. All their questions and concerns were handled by Suchismita over the course of the session.

The second day of the workshop focused on communication skills which are required to deliver the story. Kavyal Sedani, Trainer and Therapist, Rise Above, covered the importance of body language, words and voice modulation in any kind of communication. This workshop was a nice blend of theory and activities. Kavyal also handled the topics like how to handle difficult children, complex emotions and how to narrate the story with emotions.

Followed by the models of communication, participants were asked to enact the stories. Kavyal and CSAAP team recorded these mock story-telling sessions. The recorded sessions were screened for every participant and feedback was given accordingly. Due to this activity all the participants got an opportunity to analyze themselves. Also they understood their positive points and the things they needed to improve upon while conducting sessions. At the end of this session all the participants were positively conscious about their body postures and hand movements. They also tried to apply the theory while doing the mock sessions.

All participants shared that these two days were very informative for them. One participant shared that, “All the sessions were so interesting, alarming that it didn’t bore me and made me listen attentively. Also the methodology used for the workshop was very good”.

With the end of this Volunteers Training Workshop we have 46 committed volunteers, who have now become active as CHILDLINE’s Child Protection Ambassadors. In spite of having a busy professional as well as personal life all of them have promised to do as many schools as possible. This shows their commitment towards the cause of children in need of care and protection.

CHILDLINE being India’s only emergency helpline for children strives to reach out to every child in the country. Through these trained volunteers we might not eradicate the issue completely but even if one child takes a step ahead to keep him/her safe that in itself is an achievement for us.