Oct 24, 2019

Joy of Giving - Daan Utsav Experience

Bracelets made by CSA staff during the session
Bracelets made by CSA staff during the session

True joy, real prosperity, and lasting happiness is possible when all of us come together to take care of each other, respect each other’s rights and help each other grow. #DaanUtsav, earlier known as ‘Joy of Giving’ gives each and every one of us an opportunity to do something good for our fellow citizens. 

At CSA, every year, we take part in the festival of giving with various activities taking place in the different states in India that we work in namely- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Goa & Odisha.

About the Campaign: This year’s mantra of the campaign was #WeGiveToo and all the activities revolved around giving the children of our Child Care Institutes a different experience and engaging them in activities which made them socially more responsible, aware & gave them an opportunity to give back in their own ways.

As part of the DAAN Utsav activity our central staff team visited one of the Aftercare Homes in Mumbai (Institutions for older girls without any parental or guardian support) and we were exposed to such mind boggling talent. The whole experience was surreal and we interacted with these adolescent girls who had multiple talents.

We engaged in activities such as Diya Painting, Jewellery making from recycled paper. They also had set-up a small exhibition wherein we could purchase bags, Jewellery, Pouches & Diyas made by them.

The beads seen in the picture that have been used to make bracelets are made out of magazines and later pasted and painted. They usually take a week or more to create these beads.

It was such an amazing experience to learn the art of jewellery making from them and share an afternoon full of laughter & giggles.

And most importantly, we could experience the ‘joy of giving’ by spending time with these girls and seeing their confidence & skill.

CSA staff with the girls
CSA staff with the girls
Oct 18, 2019

Adopt a Home- Menstrual Hygiene

Girls in a queue for their checkup
Girls in a queue for their checkup

Recently CSA adopted a new home in interior parts of Mumbai. It is an all-girls home with girls aged between 9 to 16 years. As part of our Adopt a Home project the first initiative that we do with these children is a Health Check-up Camp and Hygiene Kit supply. These children underwent a health check-up first time in their life and experienced many new things and some do’s & don’ts. One of the most important aspects of this health check-up camp is Menstrual Hygiene. Around 55% of the girls in this home have hit their puberty and many were unaware about menstruation as a concept.

CSA staff along with the Doctor made them aware about menstruation, menstrual hygiene made them understand the concept of sanitary napkins, their usage etc.

Many of these girls are not fortunate enough to have this guidance from the care takers of the home. One of the most commonly asked question by the girls was How to tackle the period cramps?

The doctor present during the health check-up camp guided them with some home remedies to tackle the period cramps and also suggested a few super foods that they can indulge in.

During this session, we realised that many girls at the institute were shy and could not talk openly about their periods because until now they were not encouraged to discuss this topic with the Child Care Institute Staff. What we made them aware was that menstruation is not a taboo and a very normal bodily act that happens to every girl once they hit their puberty and that everything is very normal about it and there is no harm in openly asking questions related to their periods. Frequent visits and a few sessions with the lady doctor will help girls gain some confidence and they will start opening up about their Challenges with menstruation.

Doctor in presence of CSA staff doing the checkup
Doctor in presence of CSA staff doing the checkup
Oct 17, 2019

Vulnerability mapping & Adoption awareness project

Anganwadi Workers training in Madhya Pradesh
Anganwadi Workers training in Madhya Pradesh

UNICEF estimates that there are close to 30 million children in need of care and protection (CNCP) in India. This includes homeless children, victims of abuse, child labour, trafficked children, orphans, etc. However, only about 1% of these children presently have been identified / rescued and placed in child care institutions as per a 2018 report of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. It can be said that 99% of the children continue to be at risk, and could be in urgent need of care and protection. General awareness about the legal process of adoption through CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) is also lacking, with only 4027 children being legally adopted in 2018-19.

 To address this glaring gap, the Department of Women and Child Development, Indore Division, Madhya Pradesh is partnering with Catalysts for Social Action (CSA) in a pilot project to get 8000 Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) in 8 districts of the Division to conduct a vulnerability mapping exercise with the objective to identify CNCP and report them to appropriate authorities for necessary action. AWWs have been strategically chosen to implement this exercise since they are active at the grassroots and possess family level information, especially in slums, semi urban and rural areas.

 As part of the project, the AWWs, their supervisors and CDPOs (Child Development Protection Officer) will first be trained on child rights, made aware of risks and dangers which children face that make them ‘children in need of care and protection’ as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015, and the different ways in which the AWW can respond when she finds a child in risk anywhere. They will also be given information on what constitutes illegal adoption, the process of legal adoption through CARA, and other family based care options available for children. 

 Post training, the AWWs will identify CNCP in their respective locations and submit detailed information in a questionnaire designed for the purpose to their respective supervisors. The Department will analyse the information and take necessary action. Where the need to respond is urgent, the AWW will inform Childline / District Child Protection Officer / Special Juvenile Police Unit for immediate action.

 As an outcome of this training and the subsequent vulnerability mapping exercise, it is expected that many children at risk who have been out of the purview of the state protection mechanism will be identified and brought to safety either by way of rescuing them from their situation or counselling their parents / caregivers and following up thereafter. Process will also be carried out to declare children without parental contact legally free for adoption, thereby opening up the possibility of the child for growing up in the care of a family. AWWs will also be able to guide people in their respective areas who want to adopt with the legal process for adoption, and people who may want to surrender their child with the process of safe surrendering.

Anganwadi Workers training in Madhya Pradesh
Anganwadi Workers training in Madhya Pradesh
 
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