After the sweltering heat, the new academic session get started in June along with the monsoon season. As every year, this year also Shaishav’s community team carried out an enrollment drive during hot summer in 30 communities to encourage the number of children who were on the risk of being dropped out. The team visited door to door and convinced vulnerable children to enroll in the school. This way they have helped this children saved from becoming the victim of child labor.
Over a period of 20 years, Shaishav have gathered an invaluable knowledge in the field of Children Rights through our grass root work with underprivileged children. Today, we are proud to become a pioneered organization established in sharing our knowledge through Trainings and Activities. The best example of our success is our appointments as a Training Felicitator by UNICEF Gujarat to impart child rights trainings to their grass root partner organizations of Gujarat. It is our persistent dream and conscious effort to spread the Child Rights awareness and sensitize the larger audience not only in Gujarat, but all across.
Our proud moments recently came when our funding partner Childreach International have recognized our ability and approached us to give training to their volunteers and teachers in Nepal. In the recent massive earthquake in Nepal, the population which was severely affected & displaced were the children who not only lost their homes but families also. The earthquake has badly damaged the infrastructure in the country which also included school building. According to Unicef’s report, it is believed that almost one million children who were enrolled in school before the disastrous earthquake occurred, could now find no accessibility to education. Almost 24000 classrooms were damaged or destroyed. This has resulted in an urgent need to provide safe spaces for educational activities. It is often observed that in setting the priorities in rehabilitation work, the more emphasis is always given to fulfill lifesaving assistance such as water, food and shelter and education and protection of children survived, is often neglected. Prolonged interruption to education can have a long term adverse effect for children’s development and future prospects.
Childreach International has invited our core training team to educate their facilitators, teachers and volunteers in week long training. The week long workshop commenced with the need assessment study which uncovered the immediate need to fulfill health, protection and educational requirements to the children. It was revealed that an immediate action is required to protect children against child trafficking. The different between Wants and Rights was thoroughly discussed. Sessions also covered to improve proper understating about all the four rights i.e. Rights to Survive, Rights to Protection, Rights to Participation and Rights to Developments through fun, games and activities such as drawings, crafts, basic scientific experiments. This was followed by a demonstration workshop directly with the children at school in badly affected village in Bhaktapur District. The training was found to be very useful, fulfilling, to the point and as per the need assessment test done at the commencement of a workshop. We wish to thanks our partner Childreach International UK and Nepal for their overwhelming support in conducting this workshop successfully and expect to continue the relationship in future.
Our children collective Balsena held their 13th election. 119 Boys and 61 Girls participated in the process which begun with introduction of each contestant followed by voting. 5 Boys and 4 Girls contested the election and each one tried their best to appeal this council members to vote for them. One admirable incident occurred during the election which has opened our eyes and make our head held high with pride. One Girl who was contesting the election could not turn up in time till the voting begun. The facilitator asked the council whether to disqualify this girl due to her absence. These 180 children gave the best example of maturity by allowing the girls to contest the election. When asked for the reason they unanimously replied that the girl is one of the most eligible and must have remain absent due to some unknown but really valid reasons. Thought the Girl somehow turned up at the very last moment and eventually won the election and was made 13th President of Balsena. She will represent Balsena – a collective 2500 children at various state and national level events. The Chief Guest presided the occasion incidentally was our former Member of Parliament and was really overwhelmed and moved by watching this pride moments.
Our Bachat (Savings) Bank is a children’s micro-finance initiative which is open for all the Balsena children from community circle points and schools. The Bank was set up in July 2004 to cultivate the habit of savings and encourage independent decisions making regarding spending money amongst children. Some of these children have started saving habits at a very young age of 6 to 8 and have continued till date. Mostly the money which they saved are saved from the pocket money or a cash gift that they receive from their parents and relatives occasionally. The children instead of spending this money for unnecessary refreshment and entertainment, save and put it into their account and use it to spend in future for their educational needs, medical expenditure, travel or domestic emergencies. By doing so, they have set the example especially for the children from elite class who just splurge their parent’s money in the luxury and unnecessary pastimes.
The children have themselves decided to save at least Rs.5/- every week and deposit in their savings bank account. The account of each child is maintained by Shaishav staff who visits every week to collect and disburse money at each circle point where children gather. Each child has been given a passbook which gets updated on each transaction. So far, about 2000 children have saved close to twelve lacs since inception. It started in 8 Balsena circle points in community with 148 children. Today, we have 382 children from 21 different circle points having savings of more than a lec.
On 4th Jul 2015, these children celebrated their 11th Annual Program and presented the Audited Annual Accounts to share with members of the Bachat Bank. They have invited Manager of IDBI Bank, Bhavnagar Branch as Chief Guest to preside the occasion. During the Financial Year 2014-15, 382 children have deposited Rs. 90,690/- and withdrawn Rs.1,09,473/-. Amongst the money withdrawn about 80% of money is used by the children to pay school fees, buy books, stationery and uniforms. Less than 20% of the money was withdrawn to help parents to meet household expenses such as pay house rent, electricity bills or repay loans. A very negligible amount was withdrawn for entertainment expenses. This reflects how these highly spirited, inspiring and self-reliant children from slums are so much sensitive, sincere and courageous to face and understand the reality of life keeping their head high.
To give a greater meaning to celebrate this year’s Independence Day of India on 15th August, Balsena children decided to carry out “Project Bhavnagar”. The project was prepared by senior Balsena members on their own by doing research and collecting information on the city such as History, Dynasty, Freedom Fighters, Artists, Poets & writers, Political History, Demographic, Geography, and Education etc. in the form of Exhibition. The research begin on 1st August and was released and inaugurated on 15th August in the presence of many Baldosts of Balsena.
Thanks for the support and encouragement.