Just few steps away from our dream: child - friendly Bhavnagar…
To ensure that children have safe spaces to develop and that they rights are protected our work reaches beyond children and youth and aims to involve all the strands of society. We already have a strong foundation for linking society and integrating system of community – based protection mechanism in Bhavnagar. Our children and youth collectives, Balsena and Tarunsena, develop important life skills and help children and youth to derive support for each other. We joined community members and formed Lok Samarthan Manch, to work together to solve issues communities face and better the lives of children. We linked professionals working with and for children and organizations in Bhavnagar and formed Baldost Manch (network of friends of children) who works to advocate on behalf of children and communities and pressure government to improve children’s situation. We also trained city volunteers to ‘keep eye’ on children in need of care and protection and established Child Safety Net. Now we want to link all of these mechanism together and establish Balsena’s Safety and Protection module, which ensure that all layers of society are aware of children rights and work well together to ensure the safety and development of children.
To successfully integrate this module we will work to strengthen Balsena and Tarunsena Teams. We will establish Child Protection Committees, which consist of children, youth, community members and professionals working together on child safety and protection issues and will expand Child Safety Net by mobilizing and training people across Bhavnagar City. Once this module is established, it will fulfill our dream: creating safe, protective and child – friendly Bhavnagar. It will then be used for advocacy and child protection at State and National level. We still have miles to go and hope you be walking with us.
Now we want to share some of our successes with you …
Since 1995, aiming to reduce children engaging in labor over summer vacation, Shaishav organizes vacation camp for children to engage in fun development and life skills activities. These camps target “at risk” children, and are followed up by enrolment drives to get children into school. This year, from May 11th to 9th of June about 300 children participated in vacation camp. Children engaged in various educational and leisure activities: outdoors sports, yoga, cooking classes, playing music etc., they went to park and beach and learnt various life skills and children rights. On the last day of the camp, children organized closing ceremony – full of music, dance and laughter! Our enrollment drive contributed to 354 children being admitted to Anganwadi (pre-school care) centers, 300 enrolled to 9th standard and 749 children successful enrollment to school!!!
Education for Girls
Shaishav works relentlessly to enroll and retain children in school and prevent them to join child labor and escape child marriage. In our biggest baseline survey done in 2013 we confirmed our biggest challenges in retaining girls in school beyond elementary years. The baseline survey showed that while 77.15% of girls age 6-14 are in school, only 18% of girls age 15-18 continue their education. A number of issues contribute to the lack of retention beyond 8th standard. Many communities do not have high schools, meaning girls have to travel 3 – 5 kilometers or more to reach school. This not only can be expensive, but also dangerous for girls, especially if school finishes when it is dark. Out of school girls enter ‘invisible child labor’ engaging in domestic labor and working in the informal sector to collect money for their dowry. This deprives girls from economic and social freedoms to determine their lives. We are actively working to motivate these girls and they parents to allow girls to continue education and pass 10th standard. For the girls whom because of social constrain or/and economic responsibilities cannot go to school we offer 10th standard preparation courses and help them to enroll for open examination. We have identified 402 girls in our areas who are ready to take exams. 54 girls appeared for 10th standard exams in the last six months. Education will enable these girls to become more independent and give freedoms we all deserve.
Welcome to ‘Udan’
We are happy to share that on 1st of July we launched our new program ‘Udan’, meaning ‘fly to life’. Youth from underprivileged communities struggle to complete education and secure employment that would enable them to build sustainable livelihoods. Right to Education Act only includes children from 6-14 years of age, meaning the child of 15 years old, will have limited access to education and no government schools to ease the financial burden. According to our baseline survey, 81.95 % of girls and 54.62 % of boys age 15-18 do not continue education. These youth often feel disenfranchised: unable to access support and resources like training and loans, which would allow youth to achieve their potential, building their careers, bettering their lives and improving their communities.The program aims to provide guidance and assistance for children and young people to pass 10th standard exams, offers credible vocational courses as well as life skills and human rights trainings. This holistic triangular approach is unique and will provide a powerful set of skills to enter the workforce. We already have 206 children ready to join this program!!!
Sincere thank you from Shaishav’s children, youth and staff for your support!!!
Shaishav spent the last three months organizing trainings on human rights and life skills for Bhavnagar’s children and youth. Here we are sharing some of our memorable moments with you.
May and June is the most exciting time for children in India – summer vacation! I am sure you all remember this joyful time, when after months of studying you could finally forget about your books and homework… it’s the time to play with your friends and to enjoy life… every child deserves times like these! However, for children living in slums such as the ones where Shaishav operates, the realities of summer vacation differs. Summer vacation becomes time when these children take on financial responsibilities, engaging in child labor to support their family. Frequently, after the family and child sees the short term financial benefits of this added income, children do not return to school. Child labor deprives children from their basic rights to education and play (as found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child), and limits prospects of social and economic mobility.
Since 1995, aiming to reduce the number of children engaging in labor over summer vacation, Shaishav organizes “vacation camp” for children to engage them in fun development and life skills activities. These camps target “at risk” children, and are complimented by enrolment drives to enroll children back into school. This year, from May 11th to June 9th, about 300 children participate in vacation camp. Children engaged in various educational and leisure activities: outdoors sports, yoga, cooking classes, playing music, etc. They went to park and beach, participated in various life skills activities and listened to lectures on children rights. On the last day of the camp, children organized a closing ceremony, full of music, dance and laughter!
Celebrating International workers day
To celebrate International workers day and to motivate child laborers to leave child labor and to continue education, on May 1st, Shaishav organized a children’s camp specifically for child laborers. 53 children gathered in Shaishav’s training center, beginning the day with ‘Play for Peace’ activities and ending it with stories about the importance of education and shortcomings of child labor. All the children enjoyed the camp and showed improved understanding about the importance of education. Shaishav hopes to make laborer camp an annual activity attracting more child laborers and reducing child labor.
How does a camp for child laborers reduces child labor? By pulling child laborers out of their jobs for an extended period of time, families adjust to the lack of daily help from their child (often in a situation of manual labor), as well as the lack of daily income (which is often miniscule in relation to their family’s overall income). Shaishav’s social workers are able to intervene and explain the importance of education to parents. Typically, Shaishav’s social workers are able to convince families to send their children back to school by explaining the long term harm child labor does to the body and the opportunities school will provide, in combination with some financial planning.
Tarunsena Human rights Camp
Shaishav continuously works with youth through our youth collective ‘Tarunsena’. Young people periodically refresh their understanding of human rights in various trainings organized by Shaishav, but the human rights camp organized on 20-23 May was the first in-depth human rights training for Tarunsena youth. 22 members participated in a 4 -day training, which aimed to increase knowledge about human rights, the Indian constitution and democracy. Young people told Shaishav staff that the training provided insightful knowledge about the complexity of human rights, and allowed them to critically define their goals in life in relation to human rights, and plan the steps to reach these goals. At Shaishav we believe that young people, with their extensive knowledge and well developed life skills, can drastically contribute to themselves children and community development.
'Youth for Change'
Shaishav is in the process of launching a new program, ‘Youth For Change’. This program will provide youth credible vocational training in combination with extensive life skills and human rights training to enable economic prosperity and social mobility. More information about this project will follow soon.
Last year we successfully enrolled 584 children, preventing them from entering child labor, we have motivated 25 child laborer to continue education and 21 child labor to do vocational training. Through various trainings and activities, children developed interpersonal skills and critical thinking, allowing them to take charge of their lives. This all would not be possible without your continued support. A sincere thank you from Shaishav’s children, youth and staff!
The team at Shaishav has been keeping busy throughout the winter season in Gujarat! Here are some of the major activities that Shaishav completed in the past few months.
This past December, Shaishav held its annual “Kishori Samelan,” or empowerment workshop for adolescent girls. 298 female students and 28 teachers from Bhavnagar attended this day-long workshop. The day began with opening speeches from Shaishav’s honored guests, followed by a busy day of sessions about gender topics that ranged from “appropriate touch” to self-defense. We observed children’s paradigms about gender shifting, and discussed more about what it means to be “a girl.” We learned about powerful women in Gujarat. The day ended with a variety of songs and skits about gender-specific topics ranging from female feticide to dowry.
It is always exciting to see the empowerment of girls!
Balsena Annual Program
On Sunday, January 5th, 2014 Shaishav held Balsena’s 11th Annual Program. Balsena children (Shaishav’s children’s collective) and the Shaishav team woke up bright and early for a child right’s rally. Marching down Wagawadi Road in Bhavnagar, 728 children and 173 youth and adults, making 901 participants total, chanted child rights and Balsena slogans up and into Samaldas Arts College, where they broke into song and dance until the program began.
The activities included a chance to meet with a “Bal Dost,” or role model and friend of children in the community, to ask them questions about their career and lives. Subsequently children were split into two groups by age. The smaller children went and watched a movie, Delhi Safari, while the older children cooked for all people present at the event. Using massive pots and burners while overseen by Shaishav team members, children created delicious lunch for all of the participants and speakers. Simultaneously, Bal Dosts and other prominent community leaders met with our honored guest, Ranchodbhai Shah, the Founder and managing trustee of Amity International about the present state of education in India. After lunch, several boy and girl scouts from around Bhavnagar came and did a variety of activities with the Balsena teams. They broke out into small groups and learned first aid, learned simple instruments and learned the similarities and differences between Balsena members and scouts. Then the entire group came together and listened to our guests.
At 5 p.m. the Balsena children piled on the buses to go home, donated with the kind support of several private schools in the area. The Balsena Annual Program was a huge success, and Shaishav is excited to hold one again next year!
Tarunsena Annual Program
January marked another year of Tarunsena, Shaishav’s youth group! To celebrate, Tarunsena members invited youth from universities across Gujarat for a day of activities. 80 students discussed what it means to be in a youth group, the difference between a youth group and a gang, and played a series of games. The second day, Shaishav’s leadership team, Parul and Falgun Sheth, spoke to the group about human rights and the rights of youth. Shaishav is happy to see Tarunsena’s program not only growing, but participation thriving, with our members running Balsena points and Area Resource Centers across Bhavnagar.
Shaishav is proud to announce the beginning of a new partnership with the Ambey Foundation and Stitching Charity Fund Rijholt! This project grew out of Shaishav’s recent Baseline survey, in which we found that adolescent girls in Bhavnagar have a significantly higher rate of school dropout, compared to all other groups of children. Using the data on female school dropouts, the community team is doing case by case advocacy work, encouraging adolescent girls to return to school and finish their education. They are also monitoring and working to end the cycle of dropouts by creating awareness around female girls and their families about the importance of staying in school through 10th standard or higher, particularly targeting girls in 6th and 7th standard. We are excited about this new partnership and the chance to work with adolescent girls in Bhavnagar!
Parul is Recognized as one of the “Top Growth Engines” in Gujarat
Parul Sheth, Shaishav’s managing trustee and executive director, was honored to be named one of the 100 “Top Growth Engines” in the state of Gujarat by Gujarat’s top newspaper, Divya Bhaskar, in their book 100 Growth Engines: Whos who of Gujarat. The book highlights Parul’s career and commitment to child rights, showcasing her drive to “develop a model where children become the instigators and the owners of change.”
Gujarat Children’s Pre-Poll Manifesto
Last weekend, 21st-23rd of February, Rights Collective Gujarat (CRCG), led by Shaishav, organized a three-day workshop in Ahmedabad. Sixty-four children from different parts of Gujarat gathered to learn and understand child rights, to share their experiences and unite to make their voices heard prior this year’s Lok Sabha Election in Gujarat. Children presented a pre-poll manifesto to the media and political parties, where they demanded a more inclusive, fair and equal childhood.
For more information see:
You can see full version of the demands here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffacebook.ereportz.com%2Fpdf%2Fuploads%2F1393945793.pdf&chrome=true