Sankalp Empowers Responsible Adults to Nurture Safer Communities for Children

Sankalp Empowers Responsible Adults to Nurture Safer Communities for Children

Reflections from government schools supported by Cyient

Sankalp, a civil society organization committed to building safer societies for children, conducted an awareness session for the teachers of government schools supported by Cyient CSR Hyderabad. The program aimed at enhancing the understanding of teachers on CSA, its prevalence, dynamics, impact, knowledge about potential perpetrators, the importance of educating parents and children, reporting and their role in creating safe spaces for children.  The image below shows the consolidated learnings of teachers.

quotes-boxPost the training, teachers have mentioned that they would conduct frequent CSA sessions for children and parents and be more watchful of perpetrators within the schools and neighborhood.  Teachers acknowledge the importance of talking with children, reporting, nurturing strong mental and emotional health and extending non-judgemental support when situations demand.

However, teachers opined that it is difficult or rather a struggle to talk about sex and sexuality openly with children. But could not reflect as to why they have to hesitate so much to speak about sex and sexuality with children in a healthy manner. Silence and secrecy are vehicles of CSA. Talking about it is only the means to overcome stigma and keep our children safe.

But it is unfortunate that despite alarming rates of CSA, not all parents/caregivers/teachers discuss such potential dangers openly with children.  Traditionally talking about sex and sexuality is considered taboo and sometimes talking about sex is seen as raising children without values. However, to keep our children safe, discussions around sexual abuse should come in the form of healthy sexuality education. It is important to educate children age-appropriately about their sexual development. Infact, the knowledge of personal safety to children should be taught just like parents teach children about traffic rules or fire safety.

With COVID 19 and subsequent lockdown, schools across India were shut down to control the transmission of COVID-19. Since then, children were confined to home for longer periods than ever before. Closure of schools, lack of extracurricular, outdoor activities, and lack of peer-time has changed their daily routines and have stimulated monotony, anguish, irritation, and diverse problems among children. Although home should be the safest place for a child, sexual, psychological and physical abuse have shown a significant rise[1].  The lockdown and self-quarantine have become a perfect environment for an increase in abuse against children.  Childline in India has received 92,000 SOS calls from children asking for protection from abuse and violence and this is just in the first 11 days of lockdown!!

Sankalp under its project PANTS has been building capacities of children from private and government schools on personal safety education and has been nurturing their understanding of safe and unsafe touches and their abilities to deal when situations evolve. Sankalp also reinforces the sessions at regular intervals to retain and maintain personal safety knowledge among children.  During pandemic situations, Sankalp has put in its efforts to drive change through educational interventions and empower people as agents of change to build safer communities for children. Sankalp has conducted several awareness sessions for corporates, teachers both from private and government schools virtually and has been empowering them to create safe communities and handle cases of CSA.

Sankalp under its project PANTS has been building capacities of children project PANTSfrom private and government schools on personal safety education and has been nurturing their understanding of safe and unsafe touches and their abilities to deal when situations evolve. Sankalp also reinforces the sessions at regular intervals to retain and maintain personal safety knowledge among children.  During pandemic situations, Sankalp has put in its efforts to drive change through educational interventions and empower people as agents of change to build safer communities for children. Sankalp has conducted several awareness sessions for corporates, teachers both from private and government schools virtually and has been empowering them to create safe communities and handle cases of CSA.

In the pandemic situation, responsibility of adults to keep our children safe has become indispensable. To keep our children safe, it is important to talk with our children, educate them age-appropriately about child sexual abuse, create safe circles and build self-esteem and confidence that trusted adults will support them. Considerably, talking about sex, sexuality and bodies can help children understand that sex and sexuality are healthy parts of life and will enable them to make informed decisions.

Let’s talk to our children and pave a path towards safer communities

Author:

Raja Rajeswari
Associate Vice President – Development

[1]  Psychosocial Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Children in India – https://www.indianpediatrics.net/dec2020/1107.pdf

 

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