Delhi NGO Protsahan India Foundation fights child abuse with the power of dialogue
Among the many ways that can help children identify abuse, it is importance for adults (related to or familiar with these kids) to approach them for healthy conversations.
Sensitising children about the dangers of abuse is the first step to take so that they can safeguard themselves from violence. Among the many ways that can help children identify abuse, it is importance for adults (related to or familiar with these kids) to approach them for healthy conversations.
However, despite being cognisant of possible risks to youngsters, adults often do not initiate a dialogue because of it being frowned upon by society.
"Conversations around child sexual abuse are generally considered taboo, and adults find it difficult to talk about it," says Pooja Mishra Shetty, Associate Director, Public Engagement of Arpan, an NGO in Maharashtra.
To address this concern, they have partnered with NGOs like Protsahan India Foundation, West Delhi, to organise Child Safety Week - a people-led movement. Keeping in tandem with World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse that was commemorated on Friday, this initiative - it commenced on November 14 and ends today - encourages collective action towards the issue.
Now in its third year, Child Safety Week has fostered collaborations with government organisations and NGOs, corporates, schools, celebrities, and parents, to institute a fight against this grave crime. This year, the movement has witnessed about 180 partnerships from all over India through online and offline measures.
"In an attempt to bring conversations around child abuse to the mainstream, Child Safety Week was imitated," shares Shetty. Through this initiative, Arpan seeks to carve a space for healthy conversations. While the event has mostly operated virtually this year, many of Arpan’s partners have taken up on-field activities.
Protsahan seeks to empower adolescent girls to help their students build an understanding of various issues related to child abuse while also providing them with mediums to channelise their thoughts and emotions.
"We are using audio-visual methods to talk to our students. We are also conducting activities to explain the role of each person - the perpetrator, the child, the bystanders - when a case of child abuse happens," says Sanjana, Senior Programme Manager, Gender and Child Protection at Protsahan.
Based on their understanding of the issue and by making use of art, storytelling, and poetry, they have curated workshops to help children express themselves. Talking about the responses received, Sanjana adds, "Through these sessions, our students have been able to understand that what happened to them was not their fault."