Kavach - A Movement is working towards creating the right kind of sexuality and hygiene awareness amongst the young adolescents and their immediate social group. We are a Project under Nurturing Minds Charitable Trust that wishes to undo all the stigma related to a woman’s most personal and important physical cycle, menstruation.
The Managing trustee, Mrs. Bharati Trivedi has been a sex educator for more than 10 years now and has been contributing in the field of socially for more than that. She is a graphologist, handwriting / logo analyst, counselor, psychologist, overseas career counselor and much more.
Prior to one of her workshops on sexuality awareness, while the Principal of the school (name unspecified) and herself were having a dialogue, a 9th grade girl walked in the cabin room and asked for permission to go home and sought leave for 4 days. On questioning what was wrong, she mentioned she was on her period and had to go home. The Principal ordered her to take a sanitary napkin from the class teacher and continue until the school hours were over.
She very shyly refused and told the Principal that she could not use the sanitary napkin because she was not wearing any underwear. Now, however much untrue it may sound, it was true. After finally speaking to the girls, Mrs. Trivedi found that most of the girls did not have their undergarments on them. The essential reason for the same being an economic one. Stunned with the information and the agony of the realization that 10 years of service was a task half complete, the genesis of KAVACH- A MOVEMENT began…
Consider this. We wear minimum two layers of clothing on us which includes, undergarments and the outer layer, i.e. a cover for the body and the inner layer obviously covering the genitals. We sometimes have a third layer on, like a coat or a scarf and even then, while walking in a dark alley or on a busy street we tend to be as closed as we can with our hands folded and shoulders curved inwards. Why? The reason being we feel Safe when we do that…
Now imagine, someone has the inner layer missing and is supposed to perform a PT exercise that requires them to bend over, lift their hands, spread their legs and attempt to touch their feet crossways, or sit legs cross legged in a class. How uncomfortable would that person be? Constantly aware and scared of the fact that someone might just find out their little secret.
KAVACH began with a zeal and enthusiasm to not let any young child ever feel this embarrassment.
A survey reported that in 14,724 government schools only 53 % had a separate and usable girls’ toilet
Around 23 % of these girls actually drop out of school after they start menstruating
47 % mothers did not agree with girls knowing about it before onset
87 % used old cloth as menstrual absorbent; 90 % unaware of the importance of washing
60 % missed school on account of menstruation; 44 % felt embarrassed and humiliated over restrictions
The reproductive health needs of adolescent girls and boys remains unrecognised and underserved.
Some of the main reasons for poor menstrual hygiene include (a) Cultural factors where this topic is considered taboo and associated with impurity and negative attitudes; and (b) Economic–technical constraints where women and girls in lower socio-economic strata do not have access to affordable hygienic material/products compounded by poor access to private and hygienic sanitation facilities at school and home (Lakshmi Murti, 2001).
The goal of the “Kavach” Project is to enable sustained behaviour changes and increased accessibility to hygiene products in the context of basic genital hygiene and awareness about sexuality.
The vision of the project is to introduce to the young adults their sexuality both anatomically and psychologically and foster appropriate change management in this crucial formative stage.
To create an adequate support system by providing awareness and correct knowledge to other stakeholders including parents and school teachers and staff.
Since the project has very many dimensions to it, we plan on conducting Workshops with adolescent girls and boys covering topics of puberty and change management including menstrual hygiene management.
The students shall be provided information on changes that are normal and expected during puberty. Boys would also be sensitized about the issue and taught to deal effectively with their own pubertal changes.
This shall be followed by interactive session with parents where they shall be trained to provide adequate support at home.
In addition, there is a training module designed to orient teachers with right information and confidence to interface with girls as well as boys on this topic. Teachers can provide psycho-social support to the girls in school and enable create a supportive environment where the girls can deal with issues around menstruation more confidently.
And we plan to begin with distribution of A Menstrual Hygiene Kit to girls’ containing menstrual hygiene products that shall be their beginning to a better, healthier and hygienic life.
Armour for sanitation
A fledgling project by the Nurturing Minds Charitable Trust, KAVACH aims to educate and provide the necessary utilities to protect the girl child from sexual diseases, reproductive diseases, assaults, disorientation and ignorance.
Our objective is to make the girls as aware as we can about overall hygiene, genital care and sex education.
Over the past several years, we have carried out various workshops across Mumbai and other towns and cities, educating children, especially girls on the necessary hygiene techniques, sexual orientation and safety.
As our interactions with these girls grew, we understood that what we are addressing is just the tip of the iceberg and there is a lot more work to be done if we want these girls to embrace a full life.
Kavach holds workshops for it’s trainers and for schools that seek Kavach’s help.
Our workshops include –
Training the Trainer
1) Changes and Challenges – A training workshop on Sexuality Awareness for the young Adolescents. This workshop teaches unique, efficient and most effective ways of how to make sure the adolescents gets the right meaning out of sexuality and changes during Puberty.
Innovative Education by Meena Naik – We are proud to announce that we shall here forth collaborate with the master puppeteer Meenatai Naik and have our volunteers and aspirants run
Run under the guidance of Ms. Meena Naik, Kalsootri, the puppetry and children’s theatre wing of Sahitya Kala Mandal, has presented numerous puppet shows and children’s plays from 1992 in major cities the world over, winning numerous awards and prizes. It conducts workshops to train other persons and groups to enable them to do similar work for different target groups, through theatre and puppets.
The various plays that kalsootri has performed so far include-
Makda, Makda, Hupp (Marathi) and Bandar Tere Pichhay Kalandar (Hindi) Bikat Baat (Hindi) and Vaatevarti Kaacha Ga … (Marathi) on child sexual abuse.
Aasavaanchaa Yeto Vaas (Marathi) and Yeh Benakaab Chehre (Hindi) based on the subject of child trafficking (baal vyaapaar) for prostitution, adoption, child-labour and beggary.
Yeh Dil Mange More larger-than- for AIDS awareness amongst youth, Etc.
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