VOLUNTEER CALL FOR DELTA MEGHWAL CHILD PROTECTION PROGRAMME 16th Dec- 30th Dec 2018
How do you talk about safe touch and unsafe touch (good touch and bad touch) with children in the country which actively practices untouchability? How do you encourage children to build respectful friendships when the culture encourages them to treat their Dalit classmates as unwanted and humiliate them for claiming their value as a human being? Where Dalit children are made to sit at a distance in the classroom, they are told to not touch the mid-day meal. The stories of everyday humiliation are enormous. However, the point we are trying to make here is that ‘TOUCH’ is not so simple to fall into simple categories of safe and unsafe. It is a complex subject matter in the caste society we inhabit.
Therefore we believe that child protection against sexual violence remains a mere whitewash if we do not address the everyday bullying, discrimination and orchestrated sexual violence based on caste.
Who is Delta Meghwal:
On 29th March 2016, 17 year’s old Dalit girl was raped and killed in her residential college premises in Rajasthan. She was made to clean the room of the physical health trainer who raped her. When she complained, she was forced to write an apology letter which indicated consensual sex. Delta informed her father about the incident. Before her family could reach the city, Delta was killed. Her dead body was found in a water tank of her hostel under suspicious conditions. She was a brilliant painter and orator, in 2008 one of her artworks, painted by her in her 4th grade, featured in an art magazine ‘Art at the Sachivalay: Rajasthan.
Why we dedicate this programme to Delta:
Sexual violence can happen to anyone, all children and women are vulnerable and are potential victims of sexual violence. However, the caste-based discrimination orchestrates targeted sexual violence against Dalit children and women. It is imperative that we intervene. Delta was an inspiration for both boys and girls in her village. A brilliant orator, a Parade leader, a Painter. She is a beacon of light. She is a warrior of hope. She must live through each child who benefits from this programme.
What is the programme all about?
We will be staying in a village called ‘Chaudhary ka Nagla’, from 16th to 30th December 2018. We have a coloring book for children which we will be practicing with the children in the government primary school. The coloring book thematically addresses the issue of self-care, respect for others, personal space, acknowledge feelings and communicate the feelings with the assertion, finally the difference between safe and unsafe touch. We have developed rhymes and activities to understand caste based bullying and above-mentioned issues. We will do home visits to inform the parents of the children about the existing law and policy on the prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. We aim to inform parents about what they should do in case their child discloses sexual abuse.
It is important to note that we will restrict our caste based bullying prevention to the school only and will not engage on the issue with the adult community members. We call it a ripple effect intervention- where we work with the children with the hope that logical and compassionate thinking shall enable them to not choose to be the carriers of caste practice. The adults in the village communities already have a crystalized thought pattern that cannot be challenged in a matter of 15 days. Undoing caste pride and privileges is a matter of doing, it is a matter of practice and requires long-term engagement. At initial stages, we cannot take risk of being refused by the community.
What to expect from the programme and from oneself and the mission:
The programme is inspired by the work of Mother Savitri Bai Phule, India’s first woman educationalist. We believe that education has the potential to challenge the crystallized norms and set the wheel of change in motion. The programme is less about learning and more about unlearning. Child Sexual Abuse is a complex problem in the rural context. A sexually abused girl child faces a threat of early marriage (Child marriage is a prevalent reality in western U.P). Devoid of rhetoric, together as a team we will set up basic rules for 15 days teamwork. Our mobility within the village will be collective and not individual. We are doing this pilot awareness camp to ensure that the prevalence, repercussions and the dire need of prevention of child sexual abuse be conveyed to the village community, and children start questioning rudimentary caste structure in compassionate and assertive manner.
We will Sing rhymes and songs, practice child sexual abuse awareness coloring book, holding group discussions, initiating individual conversations, painting village walls, some playful yet intensive activities and much more awaits you in this 15 days camp.
We will take care of your board and lodge. We have tried raising funds for this work through crowdfunding. But it has not worked well for us this time. So we rely on whatever little we have got in terms of material resources and on the most valuable i.e human resource, our will, our knowledge, and the mission. You will have to take care of your travel. Once you are in Mathura, we will take care of you in kind. Your participation will be acknowledged through a letter of recommendation/internship certificate.
Come and work with us to shake the dust off the silence which has been held for so long.
We are waiting for you.
Nirmal Initiative Team
Send in your CV and let us know why you want to be a part of this programme: firstname.lastname@example.org