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Sep 24, 2014

Hello from child - friendly Bhavnagar

Shaishav, in its constant endeavour in imparting knowledge about basic rights of children and make them aware about importance of education, have formally launched their new initiative project called Udan (Flight for life)from 1st July 2014.

The basic idea of initiating Udan is to bring those underprivileged children together who have dropped out of school for either economic, family or social reasons and imparting them a fresh opportunity to restart formal education, along with providing vocational guidance, life skill trainings and identifying entrepreneurial skill. Our community workers have identified 174 eligible children this year who were dropped out and were forced into child labour in various areas of Bhavnagar. From among them, we managed to motivate 52 children who were facilitated by special tuitions, training and were provided books at our Area Resource Centre (ARC), to appear in the forthcoming State Secondary School Board Examinations to be held in March 2015. Shaishav was fortunate to have an active support from local High School Principal Association in the initial period. Teaching staff were organised through advertisement or local network connections. It is our dream to bring these children in to mainstream education and make them become independent, productive and skilled citizens.

Shaishav have recently partnered with UNICEF for giving training on child rights, child protection, education and eradication of child marriages, to their six partner organizations in Gujarat who are working in grassroots with community and children. We held three training programs in August and first week of September through our CRTRC (Child Rights Training and Resource Centre) initiative, in the district of Vadodara and Banaskantha. CRTRC serves to support and strengthen many educational and empowerment training programs that Shaishav has designed and created on Teaching & Learning Materials (TLMs) and to share the same with organisations working in similar fields.

Shaishav runs Balsena which is community based organisation designed to provide collective strengths to children aged 6 to 18 years. It is run, managed and led by children with facilitative support from Shaishav. The basic objective of Balsena is to make children aware about their rights & respect within the community, to encourage their participation for enabling qualities such as confidence, sensitivity, equality, leadership, friendship and solidarity. Balsena has approximately 1300 members constitutes 44 teams from 29 areas and schools. Each team elects their captain, vice-captain and two core group members on the basis of criteria decided by themselves. These children forms the council, there they elect their president and vice president, who represents Balsena’s children voice nationally and internationally. In first week of August 2014, Balsena underwent their 12th such election, where their representative were elected. Shivani became the President. Usually the Vice-President is of the opposite sex but since Asha was at the second place, the children decided to have both Asha and Akash as Vice- Presidents. However, Balsena maintained its long-standing record that the President is a girl. Out of 12 elections, 10 times the girls have become the president. This is a classic example of girls’ empowerment.

Balsena have also developed among themselves, a savings bank scheme, which enables them to save money independently, teaching them financial responsibility. It helps them understand importance of saving money instead of spending it for leisure and other non-productive things. This money is generally a pocket money received by them from parents. They deposit this money in to their savings accounts on a regular basis and withdraw when they requires for paying their school fees or buying books, uniforms, school stationeries etc. In first week of August 2014, Balsena prepared and presented their annual report and audited accounts for its savings account members. The total savings made by the members since inception of this scheme is about INR 8 Lacs and current balance as on date is about INR 1.2 Lacs.

The vision of Shaishav is to create a safe, supportive and responsive society that upholds the protection, rights and dignity of every child in India (as defined by the law). This is to be achieved by establishing effective prevention and early intervention measures, strengthening treatment support services and building partnerships. We do this by engaging with all sectors of society upon whom the wellbeing of children depends, in initiatives that will bring about these changes. Shaishav have launch Child Protection Policy (CPP) on 2nd August 2014 in the Bhavnagar district which is the first district in the state of Gujarat. This policy is designed as outlined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) under Article 19 and various legal statutes of the prevailing law in India. The launching of the CPP was done in presence of hundreds of teachers and stakeholders in the presence of the UNICEF chief of the state of Gujarat, the District Collector, Former Director of Professors’ Training Institute Dr. Bhadrayu Vaccharajani, representatives of Teachers’ Union, Principals’ Union, School Management, various government departments, etc. In the days to come, we will organize training with the members of Child Protection Committee members.

Thank You


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Jul 16, 2014

Hello from child - friendly Bhavnagar

Hello from Balsena children
Hello from Balsena children

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!!!

Relaxing with yoga at vacation camp
Relaxing with yoga at vacation camp
Udan programs opening
Udan programs opening
Celebrating 'Udan' program's opening
Celebrating 'Udan' program's opening
Child girl labourers visiting Shaishav
Child girl labourers visiting Shaishav

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Jun 16, 2014

All children in school, child labor free Bhavnagar

Child labor camp
Child labor camp

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.

 Vacation camp

 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!

Thank you!!!

 

Children playing lazem
Children playing lazem
Tarunsena Human Rights Camp
Tarunsena Human Rights Camp
Human Rights Camp
Human Rights Camp
Children performing at vacation camp
Children performing at vacation camp

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