Ashwini Syed, the Head of Training and Operations conducted two Teachers’ training programs for 100 teachers creating awareness about Child Sexual Abuse and Child Rights. These sessions were organised by Save The Children for teachers who teach in different Balwadis (Balwadi is an Indian pre-school run for economically weaker sections of the society, either by government or NGOs).
The discussion started with the meaning of the word ‘safe’ and how we keep ourselves and our children safe. Different kinds of emotions humans experience were discussed and how sometimes, it gets difficult for children to actually say what they are feeling. The body parts and, in particular, the private body parts were spoken about.
Ms. Ashwini Syed continued the session by asking the teachers that how they introduce body parts to the children in their Balwadi. Teachers came up with different ideas. Ms Ashwini stressed upon teaching the children the biologically correct name of the body parts and also emphasized the avoidance of using slang/childish names for the private body parts. She asked teachers whether they spoke to their children about Comfortable & Uncomfortable Touch upon which the teachers showed a bit of hesitation. She explained that if they, as adults and teachers, continued to be uncomfortable about these important discussions how would they teach children about Comfortable and Uncomfortable Touch. She then asked the teachers to work in groups and think of innovative ways to teach their children about different types of touch. Each group made their presentations and at the end of every presentation Ms. Ashwini gave her valuable inputs. A video on Child Sexual Abuse was shown to teachers through which teachers got to learn that they should contact Child Helpline Number if any child were to inform them of abuse. She also briefed the teachers about the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act and the session ended with queries from the teachers.
Feedback for the sessions
The teachers were appreciative of the sessions and stated that they would incorporate all they had learned into their sessions with the children. They said due to the increasing occurrence of cases of child abuse a workshop of this kind was need of the hour. Some of them also mentioned that the video gave many meaningful messages and they could show the same video to their children to explain what abuse was and what the children could do if they were to face a similar situation. Some of the teachers honestly confessed that they found it a bit awkward discussing abuse with children and asked for examples that they could use while explaining it to children. The teachers liked the innovative and practical ideas which were given to them.