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Yet Another Enthusiastic Bunch of Volunteers Ready to Empower Children

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Yet Another Enthusiastic Bunch of Volunteers Ready to Empower Children

CHILDLINE India Foundation » CIF Events » Yet Another Enthusiastic Bunch of Volunteers Ready to Empower Children

- Tabassum Pangarkar, Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Programme

Mumbai, 1stsup> and 2nd February, 2014: CHIDLINE India Foundation (CIF) conducted a two day ‘Child Sexual Abuse Awareness’ training workshop for new volunteers at Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) International House, Mumbai Central. A total of 27 lady volunteers across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane had gathered together to empower themselves with the in-depth knowledge of Child Rights in India, various components and effects of Child Sexual Abuse and the existing laws protecting children.

Enthusiastic Bunch of Volunteers Ready to Empower Children

Mr. Nishit Kumar, Head Communication & Strategic Initiatives, CIF, an expert in Child Protection, introduced CHILDLINE 1098 services. All the volunteers had a common interest of working on the issue of CSA but didn’t have information about CHILDLINE’s work. This session helped them to understand the spectrum of work that CHILDLINE is involved in. Some of the participants said that they were proud that they will be a part of this organization and will contribute to a noble cause.

The workshop was initiated by Mr. Kumar who conducted a session on Child Protection and Child Rights in India. He then played an audio clip of a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965. He explained that in 1965 when American citizens were struggling for basic rights we as Indians had got our rights in 1950. He also shared that we are the first country to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) but when it comes to implementation we are the last in line. He made this session very interesting for participants by adding his experiences of working with children.

Second half of the workshop was on understanding the issue of CSA and 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. To explain the signs of CSA among children, Suchismita showed a drawing by a child in which the child had drawn a man’s penis very distinctly. Suchismita asked the participants what is wrong with this drawing, many of them were uncomfortable to share that the private body part is drawn in this picture. She added that if we being adults find it difficult to say what is wrong with the drawing, imagine how difficult it would be for children to talk about it. Through this exercise Suchismita explained how children try to express their confusion/problem through various mediums. This session later became very interactive through various exercises.

The second day of the workshop began with an explanation on the current scenario of laws protecting children in India. Mr Nishit Kumar briefed the participants about the new act “Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012”, (POCSO 2012) in detail and what is their role as a care giver. Mr. Nishit shared the Anchorage shelter case where initially justice was denied to the children who faced abuse only because no Indian law considered the act of ‘a penis in the mouth’ as a crime. That time Mr. Nishit and other concerned people decided to draft a law that could protect children from any form of sexual abuse. As a result of their efforts and advocacy POCSO was passed in 2012. Later he shared about the important aspects of the law like how reporting is mandatory under this law, the role of the care giver, the concept of aggravated assault, what it means and the punishment for committing this crime.

Enthusiastic Bunch of Volunteers Ready to Empower Children

The latter half of the 2nd day of the workshop focused on the volunteers’ 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. Kavyal also discussed topics like how to handle difficult children, complex emotions and how to narrate a story with emotions. Kavyal made the participants do some breathing exercises to improve their voice throw. At the end of the session she recorded the presentations that all the participants were made to give which was later shown to them so that they could better improve themselves. Participants appreciated this exercise as it helped them to see themselves performing and improve. One participant shared, “This exercise has changed my perspective about myself”. All the volunteers were eagerly looking forward to start their sessions in the schools.

The wrap up session was conducted and a vote of thanks was given by Tanvi Aher,

  • Project Coordinator - CIF, Tabassum Pangarkar, Asst. Project Coordinator - CIF
  • and Manasi Jadhav, Communication Officer - CIF.

    At the end of the session another bunch of 27 committed volunteers were signed up to help us reach our goal of creating awareness among children.

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