Education  India Project #15970

Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth

by Shaishav Child Rights
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth
Create a Safe Space for Children and Youth

Project Report | Jul 15, 2020
Stories of hope and response to COVID-19

By Isha Sheth | Project consultant

This period has been difficult for us. India went into lockdown on 24th March due to COVID-19 pandemic. As we write this report India has reported more than 9 Lakh COVID cases and is the 3rd worst hit country in the world. 

Response to COVID-19:

Due to COVID-19 Pandemic we closed all our field work around mid-march as per guidelines of Government. Before closing however we spent some time in the field to educate children on what they should do like frequent hand washing and wearing masks.

As the lockdown started around the end of March, we closed our offices and started working from home. We are organizing calls with the team every day and taking the update of how they are doing. We are also taking this opportunity to learn and discover more activities, songs, stories and dances. We are also reading books and attending webinars to strengthen our concepts of education, adolescence, life skills. We are also making detailed plans for the next year especially in view to the pandemic and the lockdown. We are currently planning to work on their mental health and how to help them through self-designed learning.

Ration Kit Distribution: 

People in our communities suffered a lot with the lockdown as most of them are daily wage earners or a casual worker. They are part of the unorganized sectors. Due to the lockdown they had a hard time gathering something as basic as food. With help of Divya Bhaskar Newspaper company Shaishav distributed ration kits to 225 families in our areas in Bhavangar and around 300 kits in Dediapada, Narmada with another local contributor. Shaishav team members identified these families as the neediest.

During the distribution of ration kits we witnessed that sometimes adults would fight for the ration but children really identified who needed it the most and gave it to them even though their situations were not ideal.

Kunal helped in identifying names of these families in his area. As we did not have ration kits for everyone, we decided to identify the people who needed it the most. Kunal identified 10 families from his locality. During the distribution the facilitators felt that they should check before giving so if he has made any mistakes there won’t be a problem afterwards. However as the facilitator went around she found that these families were indeed the most needy. Later, the facilitator spoke to Kunal’s mother and asked him to congratulate Kunal for doing wonderful work. Mother told the facilitator that Kunal was pressurised by his cousin to write down their name for the ration kit but Kunal didn’t write. When she spoke to Kunal about it, Kunal said, “He pressured me, but I knew that they had already got one kit so I did not write their name.”

Many Balsena and Tarunsena children played a key role in identifying and distribution of ration kits in their families. Many times even though their own situation was not very good, they saw that other families were in worse situations and gave ration kits to them. They have emerged as a pillar of strength in their communities. In the world of constant competition and fight these children show us hope by showing empathy, care and a sense of fairness. 

Safety of staff members: 

Shaishav is taking utmost care of it's team members. We are following all the rules, regulations and  guidelines by the Government.  All the team members are given 3 layered reusable cloth masks. It is compulsory to wear it all the time in the office as well as the field areas. We have also provided them with sanitizers. The entire Shaishav office is snaitized twice a day. We have made sitting arrangements in the way that will maintain physical distancing. Anyone who is entering the office is sanitized first. We also provided team members with guidelines about COVID-19 and what should one do and not do. 

Balsena:

Calling and taking updates from children: 

Mental Health of children is one of the biggest side effects of this lockdown. Our facilitators called all the children of Balsena where we work to get their updates of their wellbeing. They were also finding out if their family is facing any challenges or whether children are facing any domestic violence. During the calls facilitators explain to the children and their family members about how to stay safe, what to do and what not to do. They have called around 1300 Balsena children. Most of the children were doing fine but they were tired of the lockdown and eagerly waiting for Balsena point and schools to resume. They were doing their studies and watching TV and playing around. However, girls shared that their workload has increased since they don’t go to school anymore. In the few cases where we felt the need for intervention we referred the cases to emergency helpline for children-Childline. During the call facilitators also encouraged children to bring out their creativity and create stories, do paper craft or drawing, etc. Facilitators shared that in the second round of the calls many children had created new things. 

Door to Door home visit and survey:

When Unlock 1 (started to open up again with some restrictions) we started to do home visits of children of Balsena to meet with them and find out how they are doing and coping in these times. We also feared children becoming child labours in this crisis situation. By now, schools have not started but are operated online or through TV. However most of the children we are working with do not have their smartphone or internet access, so we wanted to find out that as well. 

We conducted a survey with 550 children to find out about their broader situation. We are still undergoing the analysis process.  In our primary observation we found that less than 70% of children have a smartphone in their house. Usually, it is with the father who goes to work all day. So children only get access to phones in the night and they have to share it within the siblings. In majority cases, girls get lesser access to smartphones. 

During this time our staff members took proper precautions. We gave masks and sanitizers to all our staff members. 

Lal karkhanu is the name of a slum community. In this community many  children have access to television and smartphones, still they wouldn't study and keep playing with their friends. Virtual education is quite difficult for them. Parents are not very educated, so they couldn't teach the children. A balsena boy Karan observed this situation. He felt bad and disturbed from this situation. So he called a few children to his courtyard and started to teach them. The children who used to play in the streets and couldn't read or add-subtract started to understand those concepts. Karan just passed his 8th grade, still he is teaching younger kids without taking any fees. Karan applied the life skills he learnt in Balsena, he identified a problem and came up with a solution that would suit everyone. He empathised with the children, understood that they are not getting the concepts they are learning online and taught them in a way they would understand.

Child Rights Training and Resource Centre: 

During the time of lockdown our team members made 45 videos on themes of paper craft, origami, scientific toys, puppets etc. The materials in the activities were the ones one could find near his/her house. The videos were easy for children to understand and make themselves. 

The team also spent time in the lockdown to read new books, find new activities from different resource books and the internet. They translated and developed manuals for activities. 

We called up all the organizations we have partnered with to understand their situation and give them guidance on what are the different possibilities for connecting to children. 

We conducted multiple training sessions with Shaishav staff members online on different activities and life skills. With the help of Dream A Dream organization we conducted training on life skills and its evaluation and dealing with emotions and stress. Shaishav team members participated in many online trainings on mental health, mental health of children, impact of COVID-19 on NGOs, inspiring creative thinking in children stories, craft and origami, what is education?, how children learn?, etc. 

Activity Kit: 

Usually, we use cooperative games to teach children life skills. Life skills such as Coping with stress, coping with emotions, empathy, problem solving, creativity etc. are very important to handle present situations. However, connecting with children online is not a viable option as we will not be able to reach all the children who need it. Hence, we are preparing Activity Resource kits for the children which contain various activities such as paper craft, drawing, games, puzzles, story books etc. to teach them these life skills. We will give various sports activities that they could do by themselves or with their siblings, so they get some physical activities and stay fit. We will give a simple pictorial guideline of doing simple Yoga and other exercise so they get some physical activities even though they are indoor. We are also including awareness regarding COVID-19 and suggestions to improve immunity. 

We will provide these kits along with all the stationary and activity materials so the children can easily learn by themselves. Most of these activities are pictorials with very less words and that too with very simple step by step explanations.

Wenlido: 

Wenlido is a self-defence personal safety tool for women and girls. Wenlildo teaches girls and women to be safe from physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuses. Shaishav Wenlido trainers are participating in a series of online calls to develop Wenlido training online for women and girls. 

Child Line:

Child line is a 24*7 emergency helpline for children who are in need of care and protection by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India. Shaishav has been running a child line in Bhavnagar district for more than 9 years. 

During lockdown due to COVID-19, the child line team continued their services as it is an emergency helpline. Child line team handled 82 cases of children. In a few cases they also provided their support for food in times of Corona. They also helped families link with different schemes and provided emotional support and guidance to children. 

There were also some cases regarding physical, mental and emotional abuses of children in their home. Child line team counselled the parents about trauma related such abuses and to not use any violence on children. They also spoke to children, encouraged them to communicate with their parents and how to say no to them etc. Anju, Janu and Priti ran away from their homes because their father used to beat them a lot. Nani and Bhavu also ran away from their home as they used to get beaten up. Child line team provided them with emotional support and helped the police to resolve the case and made sure to keep following up with the children. 

Child Begging is a huge issue. Children who are supposed to play and learn are made to beg by their parents and elders of their communities because people give more money to children. Child line has identified the area where these children come from and started working there last year. They started activities centres for these children, began counselling with the parents and elders, and helped some of them to get admissions in the schools. However during the lockdown more children were found begging again. Child line team provided counselling to the children and met their parents as well. Through other donors they mobilised ration kits for the needy families in the communities. 



P.S. Name of children are changed for their safety in accordance of our child protection policy. 



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Organization Information

Shaishav Child Rights

Location: Bhavnagar, Gujarat - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Parul Sheth
Bhavnagar , Gujarat India
$6,054 raised of $50,000 goal
 
124 donations
$43,946 to go
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