By Anil Gulati
BHOPAL, India, 12 August 2017 - Whenever one visits a Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (Government hostels for girls) or a school which are implementing project Sports for Development (S4D) programme, I get to hear many stories of children, on how the S4D programme has helped them in their studies. The children talk about how the programme has helped them develop interest in school, improved their learning levels and increased their confidence.
However, till date these experinces were not documented. ANSH, a youth group based in Bhopal has started documenting these experinces. ANSH has young people as its volunteers in the age group of 18- 25 years. It is a platform for young people to experiment their ideas through photography of sporting events.
Young photographers from ANSH photo documented human stories from work being done in schools and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas in Madhya Pradesh under a project titled Sports for Development supported by UNICEF. The work was exhibited in the form of exhibitions in Bhopal, and districts of Sehore and Dewas.
Prior to this, they had made films, photo documented and written stories on the theme of Mission Indradhanush (Immunization initiative of Health Department). Through their work these young people have been able to creatively and innovatively highlight children’s issues, related to health and education, and bring them into the public domain.
It has led to a deeper understanding of Government structures, systems and how the system delivers for children and adolescents. UNICEF supported these key influencers to use ‘camera skills and the power of illustrations’ to bring out in-depth and human interest stories to advocate for children in the state.
Young people as Changeloomers
Akram is from Harda a district in Madhya Pradesh. He has learned dance and now is training adolescents and young people in his area to reach out with message of education and social harmony. He had resistance from his parents to learn dance as they did not consider dance as a good profession, but he pursued his dream and now wants to be a professional dancer. Mana Mandelkar is black belt in karate, the first one in her Panchayat.
She was trained by Ritesh, who is also a black belt in Karate, and teaches girls to learn karate. The challenge he says was that many girls used to face eve teasing and drop out of the school or college. Karate given them to power of self-defence and confidence in themselves to pursue their dreams.
This is part program as a leadership initiative where 12 young change-loomers were identified and engaged to understand the issues faced by children and become advocates for children and possibly create some innovative projects at the community level to showcase impact. The young people took up projects in the area of child rights, with focus on sanitation, education and new born care.
They got the space to think and progressively implement their ideas for children. The journey they undertook helped them understand the issue, the challenges, possible solutions, and work with children to make a difference in the community. . In the process, they engaged with local leaders, elected representatives, Government structures to pick up issues for seeking solutions.
The project is being implemented by Synergy NGO in partnership with UNICEF.