Children GOOD is a combination of Prevention, Provision, Promotion and Prosecution strategies. These strategies are applied to various stakeholders of the project; Children, Families and Communities, the Government, Law Enforcement Agencies and Civil Society Organisations.
Types Of Support
We train young girls on their rights and entitlements which could free them from exploitation. We facilitate child-led research and village resource mapping to make children more informed and empowered. We also train girls on communication skills as a tool for advocacy where we teach the basics of photography and videography. We give them the platform to represent their issues at Government meetings, where they get an opportunity to lobby with higher authority officials in the legal and governing system.
We conduct Jeans Stitching and Office Manager Training courses for girls where we teach them skills in demand, thereby enhancing their future employment opportunities. This gives them independence and financial security.
We enroll out-of-school girls in formal education through counselling and sensitisation programmes.
We organise awareness programmes and meetings with community members and fellow Devadasi women to explain to them the threat of dedicating young girls as Devadasis. We also counsel them on ways to give these young girls a better life.
Community Driven Approach:
To implement this programme, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) are selected where members belong to the same community. Many of the staff belong to Devadasi families. This has enhanced the reach of the targetted exploited and vulnerable girls.
Major Achievements: 2019
1. Exploited girls identified:
The project identified 929 exploited girls across the five districts through its network of Devadasi women.
2. Empowerment through Kishori circles:
Children, who never spoke before, began to voice their opposition to the Devadasi system. Children stopped child marriages and enrolled dropped out children back in school. They are now more aware of their rights and reporting their concerns on the Childline. Child Rights Trust (CRT), the advocacy partner for the project, also organised training for staff capacity building on data collection, societal and legal issues, facilitation and life skills and for transforming children into change agents.
3. Increased dialogue between Children and Authorities:
Children initiated the redressal process of their village problems by writing their concerns on the notice board and through letters, catching the attention of the authorities concerned. They now also coordinate with the District Legal Service Authority.
4. Media Coverage:
Through consultation with the Karnataka Press Association, articles were published in all major newspapers about the Devadasi problem, initiating advocacy with the Government and other stakeholders. CRT led a state-level media advocacy programme along with the Women Journalists Association in which the problems of children and women in Devadasi families were highlighted to sensitize media outlets.
5. Increased Community Involvement:
Community members are now more sensitive to the issue and have offered community resources for project activities.
What have we accomplished in the last year?
exploited girls identified and grouped into Kishori groups.
girls trained on their rights and entitlements and transformed into agents of change.
children participated in raising awareness about the problem and advocating their issues.
community members participated in raising awareness.
|1. VOCATIONAL TRAINING:
20 girls were trained in office management, 25 in stitching and 5 in four-wheeler driving as part of rehabilitation designed for victims of sexual exploitation and to prevent vulnerable children of Devadasi and Dalit families from sexual exploitation.
Many young girls in the Devadasi system drop out of school due to social discrimination or being engaged in the system. A total of 317 vulnerable and exploited girls at the stage of becoming dropouts were helped with educational resources such as books, fee and clothes to continue their studies.
| 3. ADVOCACY:
The children from Kishori groups were trained on digital materials as tools of advocacy, including photography and videography skills through photovoice, community video, video transact walk, forum theatre and others. They were also part of advocating with the Government on policy changes with respect to issues concerning the implementation of acts and mechanisms against the Devadasi system. Additionally, 42 Civil Society Organisations participated in the promotion of child rights and 2 definitive inputs were given on policies related to child rights.
Stories of Hope
CHANDANA IS FREE!
“No one used to speak to girls like us with love and care. I express my gratitude to the GOOD project for helping me to come out of my pain.”, says Chandana.
Eighteen-year-old Chandana* from a village in North Karnataka is from a family of devadasis. She lost her mother at a young age as she was HIV positive. Due to poverty, she had to stop her schooling in class nine. Currently living with her grandmother, Chandana was part of a drum performance team that presents shows at festivals where she was repeatedly harassed sexually by many men.
When GOOD intervened in her life through a partner organisation, Chandana was enrolled in school and has now completed her 1st PUC. She was also organised into a Children’s Club where she was counselled on child rights and entitlements. She is being counselled and given moral and emotional support. She is now free from her previously exploitative environment.
*Name changed to protect the identity
“I am very thankful to SNEHA and TdH-NL for teaching me about child rights and helping me file a case. It is because of them that I could come out of my pain and continue my studies.”, says Nayana tearfully. “I would like to work to address the issue of sexual exploitation of children from Devadasi and Dalit families who are poor and marginalised.”
Sixteen-year-old Nayana* belongs to a Devadasi family where her older sister Sulochana is a part of the system. Nayana is a member of a Kishori Group organised by TdH and SNEHA and has been part of awareness campaigns against the dedication of children as Devadasis organised by the GOOD project. She passed standard 9 sometime between March and April in 2019.
In June 2019, tragedy struck her. She was sexually abused by a 22-year-old boy from the same village who took advantage of her because she was from the Devadasi community. Due to counselling and awareness efforts, Nayana knew how to deal with the matter.
With the help of project GOOD, she called Childline, reported the incident, and filed an FIR against the boy under the POSCO act and Child Marriage Prohibition Act in case she was forced to get married to the boy.
Nayana was later counselled by staff from the GOOD project and produced before the Child Welfare Committee in Ballari. A SNEHA Team member is in contact with Nanaya and follows up with her regularly.
*Name changed to protect the identity