Shaishav’s goal is to ensure that all children are safe and have an equal opportunity to enjoy their rights and all the joys of childhood. In partnership with IDS, 389 children from three villages in two Vanshalas and 462 children in the child-friendly villages program benefited.
Shaishav has worked with children living in the slums of Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India since 1994. Shaishav’s goal is to ensure that all children are safe and have an equal opportunity to enjoy their rights and all the joys of childhood. In partnership with IDS, 389 children from three villages in two Vanshalas and 462 children in the child-friendly villages program benefited from the following services:
- Adolescent Groups:
Through adolescent girls and boys groups, Shaishav addressed the physical, mental, and emotional changes that young girls and boys encounter during this stage of life.
- Village Meetings:
The Shaishav team worked closely with the Sarpanch and Panchayat members of Samarpada and Pomlapada villages to help them understand the importance of working with children to enhance their life skills and teaching them their rights. They expanded their work from seven to 14 villages, hosting community meetings in Gandhi Bhawans.
- Creativity Days:
Children are inherently creative, and creativity is essential in self-designed learning. Due to social conditioning this skill diminishes, so in order to enhance the creativity of children, they held creativity days once every fifteen days.
- Library Days:
To increase children’s vocabulary, develop their thought process and help them to speak clearly, Shaishav held library days once every fifteen days. Facilitators read books to younger children, while older children were provided with age-appropriate books. This helped to develop reading habits among rural children.
- Tarang Ullas:
Tarang Ullas is an activity-cum-curriculum book that was developed for younger children between 5-7 years old, consisting of songs, poems, life skills and educational exercises, group discussion and individual activities, and visual inputs and sensory-based experiential activities.
- Sports Days:
Shaishav implemented sports days in order to teach children to be disciplined, respect others, and work in a team. Participating in sports educates children on how to have good sportsmanship and how to develop a healthy response to winning or losing. Most importantly, it teaches children empathy.
- Bal Samiti:
Shaishav formed Bal Samiti groups, consisting of: Child Rights, Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, Health, and Environment. Children were given the option to choose a Samiti to join, and they then designed the objectives of the group and elected one girl and one boy as the group representatives.
- Medical Camp:
The goal of the medical screening camps was to help parents understand the importance of health and take responsibility towards their children’s health. In addition, parents whose children were suffering from serious health issues were encouraged to refer their cases to quality care hospitals for treatment. These camps were organized in two villages, Samarpada and Pomlapada, for children up to 18 years old. In Samadpada, 88 children attended the camp of which approximately 49% of children were anemic and in Pomlapada, out of 115 children, 33% were anemic.
Additionally, Shaishav worked to create Child Rights Committees in various villages, comprised of parents, youth leaders, and children. Committee members came together to discuss child rights issues in their villages. They also reached out to nearly 900 parents in these villages to spread awareness of child rights, and in particular girls’ rights, and the right to protection of children.
Shaishav has seen that the children who participate in their programs are able to express themselves well and have developed confidence and self-esteem. Additionally, they have seen that children are able to share their feelings and thoughts to their families. With the help of formal education, children have developed a strong moral character, helping them to be responsible for themselves and for others who are in need.
Vasava Vankit Kumar is a 10-year-old boy in sixth standard. He began participating in Shaishav’s programs two years ago, and when he first joined, he was a very aggressive child. He often fought with other children, but over the past few months, Shaishav facilitators have witnessed a huge behavioral change. Due to his participation in several activities based on building relationships, friendships, and teamwork, Vankit no longer fights with other children and has learned new ways to communicate. Vankit has even begun helping others in need and has learned the importance of gender equality, believing that all people must have equal rights.