Children  India Project #9993

Transform the Lives of Children in Gujarat, India

by Shaishav Child Rights Vetted since 2012 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Feedback Form for Participant
Feedback Form for Participant

In December, Kishor Mandal (event for adolescent boys) and Kishori Mandal (event for adolescent girls) were held. 109 girls attended Kishori Mandal and 93 boys attended Kishor Mandal. This year’s theme was decision making, goal setting, and leadership. Some activities were strategic and required critical thinking and presenting arguments. Others were more energetic and encouraging team members to cheer each other into completing an exercise.

One activity involved body image where groups of children were each given a bar of soap and asked to create a pitch to sell the product. Ultimately, the activity was to get children thinking about how advertisements change how they perceive their own self-image.  For the girls, Rakshaben Bhatt, a high school english teacher and historical photographer, presented a powerpoint of photos she took in Ladakh. The girls were very curious and enamoured by the beautiful landscapes.  For the boys, Sanjaybhai Desai, trustee of Bhavnagar Blood Bank, past trustee of Shaishav and current principal of Visuddhanand High School talked about how to be a leader.  The children listened to stories about the honored guests’ lives, accomplishments, and challenges.  They were also encouraged to give feedback on each activity so that Shaishav could adjust future program to their interests. 

January started off with the Annual Balsena Event.  275 children from 12 different points were taken to a local school for fun, food, and activities with the Shaishav bus.  Participatory activities were planned that would allow the children to fully engage in discussions about important values such as leadership, problem solving and decision making.  The children watched the film Poorna, which is about a 12 year old girl from Telegana whom climbed Mt. Everest.  It is a story about willpower, and courage triumphing over personal fears and limitations.  The film was well received and they still talk about fondly nearly a month later! 

3 activities in 3 different classrooms were set up. In the first classroom, an activity about leadership was planned.  In this game, children were split in to groups where all but one child wore a blindfold, the child that wasn’t wearing blindfold needed to guide the group through an obstacle course setup in the room.  Prior to tying the blindfolds, a few minutes were given for the children to strategize about how the leader will accomplish this.  The leaders were only allowed to use non-verbal cues, meaning gestures like tapping or gently pushing.  Each group had unique ways of communicating with their leaders and the activity was well received.

In the second classroom, an activity about problem-solving was planned.  They were given straws and rubber bands and had to decide together how many rubber bands they wanted to pick up using the straws.  The twist was that the straw had to be held between their mouths and they had to pass the rubber bands from one straw to another without their hands and put it in a basket.  So, it was an exercise about how to quickly create and execute an efficient process.

In the third classroom, an activity about decision-making and the importance of time was executed. The kids were asked to think about how much time the spent on several activities during their daily life.  For instance, how much time did they spend watching tv?  They were asked to cut a length of ribbon that was in proportion to how much time they estimated…as honestly as they could!  The activity was meant to get kids thinking about how they spent their time and what activities they could do instead.

At the end of the day, the Balsena President and Vice President gave a presentation on the highlights of the years and accomplishments of Balsena members.

Body Image Exercise
Body Image Exercise
Annual Balsena Event
Annual Balsena Event
Problem Solving Straw Exercise
Problem Solving Straw Exercise
Balsena children working on leadership activities
Balsena children working on leadership activities

Shaishav participants whom were active members and council members, a total of 42 children, were invited to our leadership camp. The camp had two major themes.  First, a discussion about the importance of Balsena and how it strengthens its participants was held.  This was help promote solidarity in the collective and inspire children to its mission of ending child labor and demand basic rights to education and protection.  Next, the structure of the collective was reviewed.  Children learned about how inclusion was a central tenet of Balsena and crucial to the success of it.  Activities that acted out scenarios where collective decision making, and participation were needed to for a positive outcome.  After this overnight camp, the leadership camp participants were asked to apply their training.  For four days at Shaishav headquarters, camp participants lead workshops for 3 days with Balsena collectives from different neighborhoods. 

During Navratri and Diwali, Balsena celebrated with 5 celebrations in different locations.  During Diwali, a children’s fair with rangoli, paper crafts with greeting cards, and decorating diyas was planned.  Balsena’s active members lead children through the activities. 

In November, Wenlido training was given to around 180 girls. For 3 hours, an introduction training is given for girls aged 11-16 years old.  Girls are given scenarios to work through and judged on their decision making skills.  Prior to the beginning of the training, the girls are asked about situations that they may have felt unsafe in or when they think Wenlido may apply to.   This helped shape the Wenlido so that it helped our children deal with situations specific to their neighborhood.  The training was highly successful, in fact, one of our Balsena members recounted an episode which happened after the training.

Sangita: “I learnt about Wenlido- Personal Safety Training from Balsena. Once I was going home from school after taking 10th board receipt. I was with one of my friends. The road we took was deserted, only once in awhile people took that road. While we were on the road, two boys on Honda bike came, and asked for our number, we didn’t respond. They came back, and asked us if we wanted to come with them. We couldn’t keep quiet now, we told “Do you want Police’s number?” They said they had, and went. They came back again, and asked us, where we lived, my friend didn’t say anything, So I started. I started saying things loudly, after seeing me, my friend also started. Many people now gathered around, and we left from there, safely. I was very proud of myself that time.”

Mid-November, Shaishav members became busy with festivities and rallies for Child Right’s Week from the 14-20th.  Children started off the week with rallies at the bus station, train station, and schools calling for an end to child labor and their right to education.  Other activities were organized with ChildLine, the national help hotline.  Around 10,100 pamplets explaining the hotline were distributed to children and parents.  350 ChildLine stickers along with 30 banners were put up around Bhavnagar. Activities were also planned for differently abled children, such as paper crafts and group games.

In addition to Child Right’s week and holiday celebrations, at two locations, the Balsena children went for an exposure visit. One was the RTO (Regional Transport Office), to understand the traffic rules and why it is important to have a license, and learned to procedures to obtain a license.  The second group visited a garden as a celebration after exams.

Within Lokshala, our learning improvement program which is run at 2 different locations for children from 1st through 7th standard, 180 children are participating.  We do quality education awareness programs, learning workshops, cultural activities, drama, and music.  We also hold PTA meetings so that children’s progress is noted by the parents.

Moving into December, Shaishav looks forward to hosting several Wenlido training sessions throughout the month. 

Diya decorating for Diwali
Diya decorating for Diwali
Putting up ChildLine Posters
Putting up ChildLine Posters
Right to Education and Protection Rally
Right to Education and Protection Rally
Parent Teacher Meeting for Lokshala Children
Parent Teacher Meeting for Lokshala Children


    Shaishav wins Darshak Award

    It is great joy to inform you that Shaishav won the prestigious 'Darshak Award' instituted by the Darshak Foundation. The Award is for outstanding contributions in the area of child rights. Children from the communities received the Award on July 2nd at Ahmedabad, India.

    Children play 'Baldoot' spreading the message of peace and harmony

    Children of 'Balsena' were encouraged to visit and stay in neighbouring communities with their Fellow Balsena members. This was organised as part of the vacation camp for the children, in efforts to foster harmony between children of different communities. The effort saw children spending the night and a whole day in a different community understanding the neighbourhood and spaces where their friends live in.

    New President and Vice President for Balsena

    The Senior Balsena council elected a new president and Vice President for themselves. The new office bearers are Ms. Kusum and Mr. Chirag respectively. The process was organised at the Shaishav office and was attended by 64 members of the council.

    Annual audit of childrens savings bank

    The mandatory audit of chidlrens savings bank was conducted on 6th of August this year, and the information was made availabel to childrenand their parents.

    Lokshala updates 

    84 and 76  children reap benefits from the childrens learning centre at Madiya Road and Ramdevnagar respectively. 

    Workshop on
    Workshop on 'Rethinking development'

    The months April - May saw a lot of children coming together for vacation camps and other innovative programs which included an international exchange program Here are the highlights

    Dhe Tali : Exchange program with fifth graders in French American School SanDiego

    Balsena kids had a very eventful month when Manny, a teacher of fifth grade in the French American School in San Diego collaborated with Shaishav in conducting a virtual exchange program. Thanks to Ms Maura, the AIF Clinton Fellow at Shaishav to have coordinated the efforts across SanDiego and Bhavnagar.

    The children in SanDiego collected footage of their life in school, spoke about their interests in studies and outdoor activities, giving our balsena children, a glimpse into their lives. Our kids were then given disposable cameras to capture their life in pictures to be sent to SanDiego. Manny and Maura, with the help of staff, trained the children to use cameras and capture the best shots. This exercise helped in fostering relationship between two different communities and cultures and expand the horizons of both the groups of children. 

    Vacation camp at Shaishav

    Summer breaks are the busiest of times in Shaishav as kids come from across communities to attend residential leadership camps. This time, we had 62 child leaders attending the 3-day long leadership camp where they learned about children's right to education and recreation.

    Workshop on 'Rethinking Development'

    Balsena alumna Isha Sheth ran a thought provoking workshop on "rethinking development" for current Balsena members. Topics included consumerism, pollution, conservation, preserving traditional and sustainable practices. We hope we will all take a more mindful approach to how we interact with our environment!

    Balmela (children's fair) in Mitapur

    Shaishav, in efforts to reach out to a larger group of children, organises children's fairs in villages around Bhavnagar and beyond at regular intervals. This is done in partnership with other non-profit organisations that work in those areas and is very well received by the older villagers and children. This time around, such a Balmela was conducted in Mitapur, a village in western Gujarat. Over 200 children participated in the fair learning about child rights and other life skills.

    Children's leadership camp


    Greetings from Bhavnagar, Gujarat where children are actively taking charge of making their communities safe for children to grow up in.

    Your generosity is bearing fruit in these children's lives in very visible ways! Balsena, the children's collective, had some impressive achievements in the previous quarter. From sharing pamphlets informing children about the child-helpline, to marching against substance abuse in their communities and conducting a leadership camp, they have been doing a tremendous job not only being advocates of change but also being the change they are advocating for.

     Highlights of the Quarter

    Children's Leadership Camp, 3-5 February

    17 girls and 49 boys attended the 2 day long residential leadership camp organised by Balsena with the support of Shaishav. The children were trained in decision making, leadership, and essential life skills. The children planned the child rights audit to be done in their communities. Find out more at


    Lokshala's (The people's school)

    Two schools have a combined enrollment of 163 children of vulnerable communities in Khumbarawada. Children receive support with basic literacy as well as life skills education at our 'Lokshalas'. Find more at


    The Balsena Alumni meet

    On Republic Day, we had a reunion for around 30 Balsena alumni, who are now 'change-agents' in their communities. In addition to joyfully reminiscing their favorite Balsena memories, participants shared how Balsena impacted their lives, equipping them with essential skills to be an active part of their respective communities. Check out our collective “de tali” (high five)


    Children's rally against substance abuse

    Substance abuse plagues slum communities like Khumbarwada. To counter this, the Balsena kids took initiative to spread awareness about the devastating effects addiction has on health. The rally was well received by the community as well as children and youth of Khumbarawada. See the youngsters in action at


    Balsena representation at the National Children's parliament

    Sanjay (14), a Balsena member represented Bhavnagar at the National Children's consultation organised at Delhi. He played an active role in advocating for ‘Life below water' (SDG 14) as he grew up as a benefitting from water sources and life in it.

    Thanking you for the continuous support

    The Shaishav team.

    Distrubuting awareness pamphlets
    Distrubuting awareness pamphlets
    Children rallying against substance
    Children rallying against substance

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    Organization Information

    Shaishav Child Rights

    Location: Bhavnagar, Gujarat - India
    Website: http:/​/​
    Project Leader:
    Parul Sheth
    Executive Director
    Bhavnagar, Gujarat India
    $39,594 raised of $90,000 goal
    486 donations
    $50,406 to go
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