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Sep 15, 2015

Create a Safe Space for Children

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.

Sep 14, 2015

Empower Through Education For Poverty Eradication

Greetings from Team Shaishav & Adhar

We wish to update about the activities that took place during last quarter. During the quarter door to door survey work was done and interaction with children begun.

In the first week of June 2015, our senior team visited the villages and initiated dialogues with the local people, Education officials, Gram Panchayat, School Principals and Aanganwadi staff to overview the current situation prevails in respect of Education and problems face by the children and their parents. They also set up for the local staff appointments to begin the survey work in the area. Later, they took interviews and appointed the staff. 4 staff members were appointed and they were given a brief training on how to begin the survey work.

We have send one of our experienced staff member to join the new team members to guide them about the process of doing the survey work and way to connect people. This has definitely helped new team members to undertake the survey work efficiently, effectively and accurately. The work begun from 15th June in 4 villages i.e. Rawalikheda, Junapani, Devaliya & Kotdakhurd. These villages are very remotely located in the periphery of about 20 km from main city of Dahod. The local transport facility is very poor and it takes hours to reach this villages. These are hilly areas and reaching from one village to another was found to be a challenge.

It is experienced by the team that initially the village people were hesitant to answer the questions put by the team member, but as the things progressed and as they understood the purpose of this survey, they became more responsive.

  • During this survey, broadly it was found that :
    • In all the area the local primary schools were more than 1.5 to 3 kilometers away from the population.
    • Secondary schools were 5 to 7 kilometers far.
    • The lack of proper transport facilities to reach the schools resulted in parents spending to drop their kids to school. This expenditure demoralized the parents.
    • It was found that people were quite aware about needs and importance of education, but due to poor economic condition and for the reasons mentioned above they were getting discouraged.
    • Most villagers who were staying in villages were employed as masonry, excavator, and agriculture labor or construction workers.
    • In most houses, quite a few member would migrate to the big cities in search of employment along with their families and the older people of the family were taking care of the house.
    • Most villagers were involved in some or the other kind of addiction of tobacco and alcohol.
    • Most villagers were ignorant about their eligibility of the welfare policies provided by the Govt.

The team also met and listed down names of Teachers, SMC (School Management Committee), Number of students enrolled in each schools at these villages. Numbering work of each houses of village ‘Devaliya’ completed. Numbering houses in the rest of the villages is expected to be completed soon. The team has done a survey work of adults of each houses in Devaliya village, engaged in different labor activities, to help those obtaining U Win Cards. They helped villagers in filling application form for obtaining this card. This card will enable these villagers for claiming various welfare schemes offered by Government.

On 20th July, a balmela was organized at a primary school in Kotdakhurd Village. Total 49 children (24 boys & 25 Girls) participated. On 21st another balmela was organized in Rawalikheda primary school in morning and Junapani primary school during afternoon. Total 125 children (65 boys & 60 girls) participated in Rawalikheda and total 48 children (28 boys & 20 girls) participated in Junapani. The balmelas covered activities such as paper crafts, drawing, friendship games and simple scientific experiments games. On 15th August, a balmela was organized in Rawalikheda with 170 community children on the theme of Independence. After flag hosting, children sang patriotic songs, children songs and antakshari. 30 parents also took part in the occasion.   

Our ultimate aim is to change life of the people and children in particular from these villages soon by engaging with them through activities. We strive to ensure that all the children from these villages achieve the basic rights to free and compulsory education, create a child centered environment and provide opportunities where children and youths can realize their basic rights.  

Thanking You…

Jul 2, 2015

Empower through Education : Our First in Dahod

Shaishav believes that all children should enjoy basic rights and experience the joys of childhood equally; that all children should become productive, socially sensitive, and democratically skilled citizens. In our constant endeavor to improve the lives of children, child laborers in particular, Shaishav collaborated with Adhar, an organization actively working in the tribal belt across the District of Dahod since last 2 decades. Adhar has an experience working with forced migrants of unskilled laborers in the area. Migration in search of employment, results in a poor education amongst the children of the community which again results in never ending cycle of illiteracy amongst the community.

 

In pursuance of being highly effective in the long run, Adhar under the professional guidance of Shaishav Team, have started interacting with the people of 5 out of 10 villages targeted for the project and undertook the door to door survey work. The main purpose of this survey is to establish the exact number of children required to be engaged in formal as well as informal education. It also aims to find out numbers of workforce migrate for employment which causing long term negative impact for their children and also to find number of children engaged in child labor due to poor economic condition. The ongoing survey is also expected to undertake advocacy with the Govt. machinery in future. The same is expected to be completed by the end of July 2015 and the actual grass root work will be commenced soon after.

 

In June 2015, senior team members from Shaishav visited the area to overlook the ongoing survey work and also identified and recruited staff for grass root activity, post survey. The team has guided the local resources in handling the survey work more effectively, efficiently and accurately.

 

Shaishav and Adhar envisage the dream to break the deep rooted generational cycle of unskilled labor through a holistic approach to education, recognizing that a ‘well-rounded,’ democratically-skilled child has an increased chance to work as a skilled laborer. 


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