Sabita conducting an energiser before the session
We have another story directly from one of our peer educators - Sabita. She is 22 years old and has recently completed her Bachelors Degree in Social Work. In the role of a peer educator, Sabita implemented sessions on sexual and reproductive health over a period of 10 months at an after school learning centre in Delhi with a cohort of 9-13 year olds. Here is her story.
Imagine a tiny room, walls full of posters and drawings, a white board right in the front, mats in the center and small wooden stools lined up against the walls. This is where my co-fellows and I spent our Sunday afternoons discussing topics like gender, sex and violence with 19 little minds.
My first day at the centre's library was quite interesting, to be fair I wasn’t prepared for that day at all. I wasn’t expecting responses like “update” or “modify” when we first asked them about change. Every sunday was a challenge for me, no matter how many hours we spent before each session working on our plans, I knew it wasn’t enough. First few sessions were quite tough, it was difficult to try and contain all that information in two hours. I could see us struggling most days, but I also took it as a learning process. I recall the days we spent talking about reproduction and conception, the faces they made couldn’t be helped at first but later on they understood why we were discussing these topics. So much so, that we started expecting atleast one question after each session inside our little ‘Sawaal Samvad Peti’ (Question and Discussions Box).
After our fifth session, my co-fellows and I started thinking of all the questions that might come up. Because it wasn’t really a big batch, we tried to figure out who could say what and when. Some days were a hit, some were a miss. Not to say that all sessions weren’t my favorite, a few stood out than the rest. You know you’ve had a good session when these little minds can explain why consent is important or how the society puts us into different gender boxes and it is difficult to break out of them. Every sunday wasn’t an easy breeze though, some days the younger ones would only be interested in the games and not pay attention to the discussions and older ones would just zone out or lose interest. This came as a big challenge for us because we knew we’d have to come up with new ways to engage them all and this wasn’t going to be an easy task.
Green flag days were the best, these used to be ones where you’d see the shy kids responding, or the older ones helping the younger ones by giving them little hints here and there. We knew they enjoyed coming to the library every sunday to learn new things, watch videos and do fun activities. They’d hold onto the unanswered questions and point out topics themselves at the end of each session. You could see how they were thinking about our discussions, and applying them to their surroundings. For instance, they’d tell us about their conversations with friends from school and how frustrating it was for them. I could see the growth that was happening inside the room, not just for these little minds but also for us fellows. All in all, these sessions always kept us on our toes, they could surprise you anytime. The only times I was scared were when we skipped a day, and the little ones would scold us for not coming, the minute they entered the room and saw us.
We would like to thank Sabita for sharing her experience with us and also express our sincere gratitude to you for continuing to support us and our work - Thank you so much!