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Jun 17, 2015

A Summer with the Children of Bhavnagar

Balsena children performing at the vacation camp.
Balsena children performing at the vacation camp.

The summer in Bhavnagar is characterised by the sweltering heat which lasts until the start of the monsoon. It slows down the pace of the city. However, for Shaishav and the children with whom we work; the summer means school vacations and our busiest time of the year.

A number of children from the communities in which we work are pressured to support their household income by working during these holidays. This sometimes results in them dropping out of school when the new term begins. We use this time to organise fun and educational activities to engage children and ensure they better understand and enjoy their rights. More importantly, we strive to ensure that children do what they are supposed to during the summer, i.e. enjoy themselves!

Our work with Balsena (Our Children’s Collective):

Over 300 children from Balsena participated in our Summer Vacation Camp which ran throughout the month of May. Children engaged in sports, creative classes like pottery and took educational trips around the city. An additional 45 active members from Balsena who had already taken a level of responsibility in their respective groups attended a leadership camp split over two weekends. This was organised by members of Tarunsena (our youth collective) who mentored the children, took them trekking and engaged with them on themes like leadership, management and teamwork.

A celebration on World Environment Day was also organised, in which 60 children participated. The children spent time discussing environmental issues relevant to their communities. They also designed posters and recycled paper to make bags which they then distributed across the city to raise awareness.  

Our Campaign Against Child Labour in Bhavnagar:

A city-wide campaign to combat child labour was launched. Performing in public spaces across the city, members of Balsena and Tarunsena joined staff in organising plays on child rights and related issues. Awareness was further increased by distributing literature, putting up posters and engaging with the public at various events. A petition against child labour in Bhavnagar was also launched which was subsequently signed by the Mayor and Assistant Labour Commissioner. Over 5000 people were actively engaged and involvement of children and youth dramatically increased public interest. Finally, an activity camp for non-school going and/or working children was organised for 46 children. The activities were so popular that a number of children in fulltime education also attended. Their interactions with the participants was monumental in increasing awareness about children’s rights and the importance of education amongst the working children from the city.

Other Work within Bhavnagar:

As part of our drive to make Bhavnagar a safe city for children, our Childline team trained 175 police officers from the Bhavnagar Railway Division in child protection, relevant government acts and mental health issues related to their work. They also resolved 12 cases of children who required assistance reported via our child helpline.

Our Work outside Bhavnagar:

Shaishav partnered with Suraksha Setu to train 1155 children (from Surat and Valukad) on children’s rights, issues affecting adolescents and child sex abuse. We also entered a new partnership conducting an activity workshop with vision-impaired children from the Divyajyoth Trust in Maandvi. This was both a challenging and rewarding experience and we hope to further this partnership in the coming months.

Affecting Wider Change:

Shaishav has been taking an increasingly active role in bringing about wider change through advocacy, publishing our learnings and research and creating a strong collective voice by developing networks of like-minded organisations. This summer, senior staff attended a Regional Meeting regarding the Juvenile Justice Act and a public hearing for the Right to Education Forum. At both meetings, we relayed the on-the-ground realities faced by children and their communities and the effectiveness of these policies in safeguarding children’s rights. Our Voice of Children report which showcases the opinions of the children that participated in Child Rights Week 2014 (a state-wide celebration organised by Shaishav) was also published this summer.

 

On behalf of everyone at Shaishav, all the children of Balsena and their elder peers at Tarunsena, I would like to thank all of you for your generous support. If you have any questions or want further information on any of our programmes feel free to get in touch or have a look at our website.

 

THANK YOU!

Pottery Class!
Pottery Class!
Vacation camp for working children.
Vacation camp for working children.
A play performed in public (part of our campaign).
A play performed in public (part of our campaign).
Mar 24, 2015

Create a Safe Space for Children

Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.

-      Virginia Satir

 

India is a young nation. According to India’s demographical profile of 2014, it has the largest population of adolescents in the world being home to 243 million individuals aged 10-19 years. Accordingly the country's adolescents constituted 20 per cent of the world's 1.2 billion adolescents. Most adolescents have concerns about acceptance by their peers. They often face social rejection due to their difficulty in controlling their social and emotional changes. Social issues encountered in childhood can become worse in adolescence, with the intensity of any rejection or bullying increasing during the teenage years. This rejection can negatively affect both academic performance and emotional health—and can be, in fact, much more troubling to them than making poor grades in school.

Shaishav, while working with children for about 20 years now, have understood and have taken up the challenge of this very sensitive issue. We do regular activities for recognising their issues and motivate them to tackle it without compromising social behaviour. On 10th January 2015, around 210 boys from different schools of Bhavnagar participated in Kishor Samelan. Boys were divided in small groups and introduced to different sessions which had covered the subjects like Difference between boys and girls, physical, psychological and emotional changes during adolescence, Gender discrimination and personal safety. Kishori Samelan was on the following day. Around 160 girls form different schools participated in it. Similar activities were done with girls also. However they were introduced to a Self Defence Wenlido introduction training as well. The Kishori Samelan was ended with an inspiring key note address of Ms Parul Dandikar, an editor of ‘Bhumi-putra’ a well-known publication of Gujarat.

Shaishav also organised State level convention with children in the last week of Dec 2014 to celebrate 12th year of founding Balsena. About 45 children from different districts of Gujarat participated in a 3 day residential workshop held at Bhavnagar. Children learned life skills, friendship & self-development through various games and activities. These children have also discussed various historical, social & cultural issues related to their region. This was followed by a 12th Balsena Annual Celebration being held on 28th Feb 2014. About 780 Balsena children from different community and schools participated in a rally which was followed by Balsena Flag Hoisting and a day long workshop with a theme of an airplane. They were taught how to make different type of airplane using paper. They were also shown history on airplane and its occurrence through an exhibition and a 20 minutes film. Children made paper plane from a used papers. They were also given understanding on making best out of waste, environment awareness and block printing.

Tarunsena Leadership Camp was organised on 30th Jan 2015 to 31st Jan 2015. 19 youths participated in this 2 day residential workshop being held at Manar, an outskirts of Bhavnagar under a mentorship of Falgun & Parul Sheth. They introduced to each other through an activity in which they revealed many things about themselves which they never expressed before. They were introduced to few games through which they learned how to solve problems by supporting each other, understand and respect other’s opinion, helping improve each other, viewing things with different angle, understand leadership quality, teamwork, decision making, determination, integrity and determination. It was followed by Tarunsena Annual Celebration on 1st Feb 2015, where 35 youths participated by discussing their past activities, future plan of action on programs of Tarunsena.

A leadership camps for active Balsena children were organised in which they were given detail and wider understating of child rights through different activity and games.

UNICEF has been working in two districts of Gujarat by developing partnership with the local organization of these districts on the issues of Child Protection, education and Child Participation. UNICEF has appointed Shaishav as their training partner. The training of phase IV with five UNICEF partner organizations was conducted at district level to implement the project effectively. This training was conducted near Baroda during 2 to 4March 2015. Total 51 members participated in this training.

The training included the subjects like effective implementation of project at field level, Self-development; prepare planning of Field level execution, Standard Methodology to prepare Case Studies and Enhancement of work capacity with various groups and community mobilization. The three days induction training was conducted with the purpose of effective implementation of the project in the field.         

During this period, there were lot of advocacy initiatives took place and Shaishav was also recognised for their activity with children and the work on Child Rights.

  • Governor of Gujarat & UNICEF honoured Shaishav for most innovative work with children in the state.
  • Bhavnagar Old Port Industrial Association also recognized Shaishav and its activities.
  • Save The Children – India, invited Balsena President Ms.Shivani  Gondalia to 3 day program UN Action2015 held at New Delhi where she was privileged to meet & do presentation to Ms.Yoo Soon-taek (Wife of Hon. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon); Dr. Najma A. Heptulla – Cabinet Minister for Minority Affairs; Kaveri Bamsai – Senior Correspondent India Today Group. She was amongst 200 children participated from all over India.
  • Shaishav was invited in a Regional Round Table Conference on the Effective Implementation of Juvenile Justice in Bhopal organized by High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh & UNICEF

During the period, Shaishav participated in RTE Forum – National Board meeting to plan future strategy, stock taking, public hearing etc. at New Delhi. It also participated in a workshop on critical insights on Budget organized by CBGA (Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability) and National Convention on Union Budget 2015-16 at New Delhi

Thank You

Mar 19, 2015

Create A Safe Space For Children And Youth

Balsena Children gathered for Flag hosting
Balsena Children gathered for Flag hosting

Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.

-      Virginia Satir

 

India is a young nation. According to India’s demographical profile of 2014, it has the largest population of adolescents in the world being home to 243 million individuals aged 10-19 years. Accordingly the country's adolescents constituted 20 per cent of the world's 1.2 billion adolescents. Most adolescents have concerns about acceptance by their peers. They often face social rejection due to their difficulty in controlling their social and emotional changes. Social issues encountered in childhood can become worse in adolescence, with the intensity of any rejection or bullying increasing during the teenage years. This rejection can negatively affect both academic performance and emotional health—and can be, in fact, much more troubling to them than making poor grades in school.

Shaishav, while working with children for about 20 years now, have understood and have taken up the challenge of this very sensitive issue. We do regular activities for recognising their issues and motivate them to tackle it without compromising social behaviour. On 10th January 2015, around 210 boys from different schools of Bhavnagar participated in Kishor Samelan. Boys were divided in small groups and introduced to different sessions which had covered the subjects like Difference between boys and girls, physical, psychological and emotional changes during adolescence, Gender discrimination and personal safety. Kishori Samelan was on the following day. Around 160 girls form different schools participated in it. Similar activities were done with girls also. However they were introduced to a Self Defence Wenlido introduction training as well. The Kishori Samelan was ended with an inspiring key note address of Ms Parul Dandikar, an editor of ‘Bhumi-putra’ a well-known publication of Gujarat.

Shaishav also organised State level convention with children in the last week of Dec 2014 to celebrate 12th year of founding Balsena. About 45 children from different districts of Gujarat participated in a 3 day residential workshop held at Bhavnagar. Children learned life skills, friendship & self-development through various games and activities. These children have also discussed various historical, social & cultural issues related to their region. This was followed by a 12th Balsena Annual Celebration being held on 28th Feb 2014. About 780 Balsena children from different community and schools participated in a rally which was followed by Balsena Flag Hoisting and a day long workshop with a theme of an airplane. They were taught how to make different type of airplane using paper. They were also shown history on airplane and its occurrence through an exhibition and a 20 minutes film. Children made paper plane from a used papers. They were also given understanding on making best out of waste, environment awareness and block printing.

Tarunsena Leadership Camp was organised on 30th Jan 2015 to 31st Jan 2015. 19 youths participated in this 2 day residential workshop being held at Manar, an outskirts of Bhavnagar under a mentorship of Falgun & Parul Sheth. They introduced to each other through an activity in which they revealed many things about themselves which they never expressed before. They were introduced to few games through which they learned how to solve problems by supporting each other, understand and respect other’s opinion, helping improve each other, viewing things with different angle, understand leadership quality, teamwork, decision making, determination, integrity and determination. It was followed by Tarunsena Annual Celebration on 1st Feb 2015, where 35 youths participated by discussing their past activities, future plan of action on programs of Tarunsena.

A leadership camps for active Balsena children were organised in which they were given detail and wider understating of child rights through different activity and games.

UNICEF has been working in two districts of Gujarat by developing partnership with the local organization of these districts on the issues of Child Protection, education and Child Participation. UNICEF has appointed Shaishav as their training partner. The training of phase IV with five UNICEF partner organizations was conducted at district level to implement the project effectively. This training was conducted near Baroda during 2 to 4March 2015. Total 51 members participated in this training.

The training included the subjects like effective implementation of project at field level, Self-development; prepare planning of Field level execution, Standard Methodology to prepare Case Studies and Enhancement of work capacity with various groups and community mobilization. The three days induction training was conducted with the purpose of effective implementation of the project in the field.         

During this period, there were lot of advocacy initiatives took place and Shaishav was also recognised for their activity with children and the work on Child Rights.

  • Governor of Gujarat & UNICEF honoured Shaishav for most innovative work with children in the state.
  • Bhavnagar Old Port Industrial Association also recognized Shaishav and its activities.
  • Save The Children – India, invited Balsena President Ms.Shivani  Gondalia to 3 day program UN Action2015 held at New Delhi where she was privileged to meet & do presentation to Ms.Yoo Soon-taek (Wife of Hon. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon); Dr. Najma A. Heptulla – Cabinet Minister for Minority Affairs; Kaveri Bamsai – Senior Correspondent India Today Group. She was amongst 200 children participated from all over India.
  • Shaishav was invited in a Regional Round Table Conference on the Effective Implementation of Juvenile Justice in Bhopal organized by High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh & UNICEF

During the period, Shaishav participated in RTE Forum – National Board meeting to plan future strategy, stock taking, public hearing etc. at New Delhi. It also participated in a workshop on critical insights on Budget organized by CBGA (Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability) and National Convention on Union Budget 2015-16 at New Delhi

Thank You

 
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