We have been able to crowd source 4 cameras for our children through Twitter and Facebook. Need another 16. Will you help us make this possible?
“To be yourself in a world always trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”.
ART HEALS. PROTSAHAN TAUGHT ME HOW.
There is another life waiting for you ‘as you step out of the comfort zone’. I had always heard but never experienced, highly grateful to Protsahan for giving me an undoubtedly remarkable and a truly memorable experience of my life. We live in a world where the ‘hackneyed irony’ is, girls since their birth are supposed to be emotional, beautiful, loving and innocent. The moment they are grownup these qualities become blemishes and women become ‘weak’. Protsahan binds what is bruised in them, filling them with undue care and love mandatory for their upbringing. This week I was emotionally and mentally more aware of their situations and lives. They carry hidden worries behind the heart melting smiles and too many dreams in the mind. Fatima ‘the aspiring beautician’ has three more siblings in her house, she balances her household chores and her studies with all possible efforts, also leads her peer group i.e. four more girls are being trained by her, under beauty and hair care. I was amazed to see her knowledge and humble approach of teaching her mates. I assisted her by teaching a new braid style, Anju (another trainee) went swanking it all around.
There is not a single frown on their face, they are confident and firm of what they are seeking. Their glittering eyes watch the world around them, with every new situation and perplexity they are growing stronger and sharper. As I got to know them better I then realized how a child learns what she lives. If a child lives with hostility, she learns to fight; if a child lives with tolerance, she learns to be patient; if a child lives with encouragement, she learns confidence; if a child lives with security, she learns to have faith and if a child lives with acceptance, she learns to love herself. Truly said ! Girls at protsahan were never to me ‘just students’ their affability and naivety made a soft corner in my heart for my new little girlfriends. Soni has taught me to be courageous, Manya has taught me to stay happy incessantly, Mala taught composure, Fatima taught how to stay determined, Kiran’s bag was full of unflagging positive vibes, Ms. Sonal the founder of this utmost amazing venture taught me the art of tolerance whereas Jony the co coordinator of the center has taught me to unceasingly put in efforts and results will always be fruitful. They assuaged my problems and extracted what was missing in my life ‘the ability to stay happy despite of a hundred problems’. Before leaving Manisha the youngest member of Protsahan family danced as I sang a farewell song, Priyanka held my hand and jingled with me on ‘ring-a ring-a roses’. Soni and Manya lovingly escorted me to the auto saying “5 minutes aur aapke saath ma’am”. These girls are so affectionate and pristine that being with them, teaching them, helping them and being close to them is a perennial joy. One of the most amazing part of being here is constant updates on social media about what’s abuzz inside of Protsahan classrooms. be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a young person can actually stay connected and come forward and offer to help through contributing their time and services even in the little most manner!
I would share a poem that relates to each and every little girl here :
“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.”
I, Chahal Vaid, being an intern of PROTSAHAN have earned a lifetime experience of working with the most delightful team and lovely girls. My summer 2015’s baggage is full of memories and lessons learned. Thank You Protsahan and Ms. Sonal Kapoor for letting me become a part of your family. I am and will always want to be a part of this noble initiative @protsahan.
PIF Intern 2015-2016
An educated girl has direction, she has hope. She will become a mentor to other girls, she will CHANGE THE WORLD.
My second week of internship at Protsahan Delhi opened varied doors and issues. Among the hustle bustle of the city and the cobwebs of our society we fail to realize what ‘the real problems’ are.
Spending these many days with the girls I was able to begin tracing the path from where they emerged as little warrior girls. From infants to adolescents, all the girls have one thing in common ‘they never quit’, they have learnt to condemn the criticism. Past 5 years Protsahan has been trying and mending lives of these little girls. Some have had a tough journey and some are still too young to absorb their surrounding restrictions.
Talking of the stories and struggles, the other day I entered Protsahan I was taking a session with the senior most girls, I saw Soni and Anju conversing in hindi and told them to try and converse properly in English, they did it very well, further I told them to be in a regular practice of speaking in English, but suddenly Soni popped up with a query “madam ji koi fayeda ni hai hmare ghar par bhai sunata hai, koi English bolne ni deta” with this statement she went back juggling with her notebook and cramming new words. I wasn’t amazed because I knew half of them come from a family trying to suppress their desires. What astounded me was the carefree way Soni came to me. This little anecdote evinces the change brought in these girls, today Soni is not scared to live up to her dreams, inspite of the unsupportive attitude of her family Soni is preparing for her 10th class from open school. She comes to me every time with new sentences framed and gets them rechecked. I say that’s the spirit, a girl who never was given a chance to step out of her canonical household can beat you when it comes to crafts, compete in academics and completely bewilder you with her dance. Yes she is a true combatant, everyday she studies in the guidance of her teacher Ms. Preeti who has been helping her strive hard, Soni has evolved as a girl transforming to a woman ‘a warrior woman’.
On taking a session with the midgets I recognized that they live in their own little world, they have their own little fact dictionary and their glittering eyes will pull you in their’ make belief world.’ When I taught them the kinder rhyme ‘twinkle twinkle little star’, some exclaimed to have seen two moons in the sky and some had caught stars falling from the sky. The rhyme was skylarks making them all sway with their hands up high. It gave me immense pleasure to see the petite cubicle lighting up with their chirping. Anjali ‘the one spruced with the coy smile’ bought me a beautiful flower and made sure I take it home with myself, these days at PROTSAHAN had been a frolicking experience and surely will continue to be one.
I brim with pride when I see them striving hard towards their goals. There are times when I see a few of them being escorted to their school by their mothers ; it is a true pride that they are supportive! Nobody has the right to hamper their education and their dreams, education and welfare for all is a mandatory aspect, despite of a hundred efforts there are many such typical orthodox families hindering their child’s education. What I loved about the way of teaching at #protsahan is that every child is being nourished under guidance of women teachers which is preferred by their families, educated free of cost, overall development from the root level, imbibing creative arts as a medium to penetrate deep in their minds Protsahan takes care of every little thing because they believe in giving childhood care when it is needed the most, it enhances their self esteem.
‘Education acts as a vaccine to violence’
Life at Protsahan I see- Everyday a new name adds to the clan, everyday a new story comes up, everyday a new pair of glistening eyes, an innocent smile at protsahan’s doorstep knock. I have heard ‘little girls with big dreams become women with vision’. And with this I end my post waiting for every such little girl bound by prejudgments terminating their plans to be set free to dream and play.
Intern 2015- 2016
Travelling through the tapered roads of Hastsal, on reaching my destination I was stupefied on being received by the doting smiles of the little angels of Protsahan. Truly said “The soul can be healed by being with children.” They rekindled me with a lot more joy and hope than I expected, exactly then did my first experience of interning kick start!
I Chahal Vaid started with my internship at PROTSAHAN.
Protsahan is not a work place, not just an organization but a ‘Family’ of numerous girls who endeavor to turn all their can’ts into can’s and dreams into plans. The first week at Protsahan with the little ones was so overwhelming as it brought out the best in me. At 20 I wander aimlessly, looking at these aspiring girls was a blessing to my soul. As I entered the girls clustered around me giving me heartfelt hugs, warm greetings and ecstatic smiles.
The first day I came to Protsahan on meeting the mastermind behind this beautiful life skills home for little at risk girls: Ms. Sonal and her prodigies all geared up to meet their new ma’am, I was elated how much do they rely and urge to acquire from a stranger too. Their guileless smiles entrapped me and their magnificent crafting left me awe struck. The plethora of best out of waste items, quilling cards, anonymous painting styles and innovative designs stunned me and I knew from their faces they are willing to abstract maximum knowledge from me.
I started with my Lilliputians, as I am beginning to call these gems of a heart. I could sense their innocence with their tight grips on my hand. Little Meenu being my very first favourite I already felt attached to her. Every day she welcomes me with an electrifying smile pulling me in her class. The commencing session on identifying TIME was a playful one with six year old Ayesha always bubbling with questions, mischievous Neetu struggling to be veiled by her notebook and the pocket sized trio Kinjal, Manisha and Gauri giggling and distracting everyone with their cuteness. I was helped by their teachers who were constant support to me throughout. The best time to catch up and mingle with the girls was the lunch break. Lunch time opened a new face of #Protsahan in front of me the one where all sit together and start only when all are present, religiously share their lunch and all have enough to eat.
Throughout my way back home I stayed in their spell and recollected each and every happening of the day. The next day I reached Protsahan there was a girl named Suman – a talented girl and an expert in sewing, she accidentally sewed her finger in the machine. Everybody was aiding to cheer her up, I escorted her to the neighborhood doctor, and discovered she was one of those who couldn’t speak and was traumatized by her mother who was in a habit of beating her, before I drowned in my empathizing emotions she gave me a laudable smile that changed my outlook towards life. She bears a lot of strength and sets an example for the handicaps who by their sixth sense overcome their disabilities.
That whole day I took a session with the senior most batch, saw them grooving on the song prepared by their theater instructor Jony. My face brightened up seeing their unblemished smiles. I started with basic introduction regime trying to know them better, and came across my new best mates. Kiran – a human spring always the first to answer with her vernacular tone saying “I know that” , Fatima – the perfect English spell checker of the class, and my three musketeers Soni, Sonam and Anju leaving no leaf unturned to give the class a laugh riot. Mala ‘the aspiring lawyer’ of Protsahan summed up a lot of courage and by the end of the session came out of her shell and confidently conveyed her emotions. The iron eyed Soni is avid to learn and teach, she is always on my periphery with a doubt or a new idea. Before dispersing I made them sing a stanza of WE SHALL OVERCOME and in a span of 5 minutes all hummed and sung kindheartedly. These craftilicious girls are nothing less than angels to me and this beginning of internship was probably the best decision I took so far.
In a world constantly trying to curtail their happiness, Protsahan has carved a niche to self attainment and freedom, every member of the team contributes to the life of these angel girls striving to achieve their vocation. No one can dampen their invigorated spirits. Their wide eyes shout out to run wild. The girls have shown me rainbows and hope beyond despair.
There is a song that suddenly strikes on my mind infusing the ineffable emotions on meeting the dulcet girls of Protsahan.
“Dil hai chota sa choti si aasha
Masti bhare mann ki bholi si asha
Chand taro ko chune ki aashaa..
Aasmano mei udne ki aasha”
I am here to serve them with two things : Roots and Wings.
Protsahan Intern 2015-16
Tags: Changemakers, children, encouragement, kilkaariyaan, ngo, perspective, Protsahan
Internships are an intrinsic part and parcel of any B-School curriculum. Abiding by this, we, Anurag Krishnam, Abhinav Singh Raat, Juhi Shukla, Prakhar Verma and Pooja Chowhan introducing ourselves as the new interns at Protsahan India Foundation, this summer, traveled down from Greater Noida to this place which was to change our perspectives forever. With the to-do list in our mind and a propaganda to discuss with the Founder CEO herself, we set forth with our internship plans. A drive down, few steps and this is how we saw Protsahan; Protsahan devoured with encouragement.)
The ambiance,a quaint looking lane, houses over-looking each other, children playing all around. We pass through the lanes, by lanes and we stand before the gate which is aloud with the hustle and bustle of vibrant little girls. A step further and you know that you have entered a different dimension of the locality.
We saw them and they left us surprised. A small premise, close over hundred children, some with their books reciting a poem, some gleefully playing together, some sitting in groups discussing everything trivial to issues as big as child marriage where they are working on a film which they are scripting!! From that first step, the dynamics that you see within the centre is phenomenal. For, when have you encountered children, children who have been left depraved, children who seen all, been through all and have sustained all and yet have only smiles to give, to get in this beautiful abode.
‘Protsahan’, it means encouragement. Encouragement not just for a better present, but for a sustained life. What is now ubiquitous is deliberations on women empowerment. We see livid discussions on women’s reservation bill, encouragement for uplifting women across all corporate verticals, The ‘Save-the-girl child’ aandolans. What I personally ascertained upon entering Protsahan was, all this nullified when it came down to the niche, the grass-root level.
The sparkling smiles that shone on the faces of these girls, were once subdued to the extent of even being crushed. For people like us, problems back home meant skirmishes with our siblings, an argument that our parents might have had, for these girls, home was a place where they were sided, their little hands were used for domestic chores. What came to rescue was this bright, young lady with the vision to set up something as novel as Protsahan. Challenges are seen by the day, by each little hour, but the passion of this place only notches up a step in the ladder high. The children come from such tough backgrounds but here find their own haven. Read about a little 6 year old that Protsahan reached out to just a few days back.
‘Protsahan’ was never about a school that taught them how to read and write. ‘Protsahan’ was a lease of new hope that these children got. To learn and express themselves, the happiness when they were clapped for, the yearn to learn more, the bright aura that lit their faces when they handled cameras, picturing perspectives that were different from ours, the chirpiness they regained all resulted in one thing ‘Kilkaariyaan’, brightly hued giggles.
When you enter Protsahan, the first thing any mortal would notice is ‘Kilkaariyaan’. (Kilkaariyaan’ is a Hindi word that means gurgling laughter)
When I say it all, we all have our little inhibitions, we all live with the longing to do something great for ourselves, but when we see outside the pretext of our own happiness, we see children who are much alike us, with lesser and fewer demands, what gives them happiness is recognition of their presence, of their identity, the love, the touch of compassion, the encouragement to open their wings and fly high.
To me, Protsahan is one and all above these.
To me, Protsahan is the reason behind their newly found ‘Kilkaariyaan’.
It had all started as a discussion between Elsa Marie Dsilva (Founder: Safecity.in) and Sonal Kapoor (Founder: Protsahan) when they met during their Vital Voices Fellowship Programme in Nepal. Vital Voices is an international organization that invests in extraordinary women who are trying to transform the world, one unique step at a time with sustainable approaches. Vital Voices works with extraordinary women leaders accelerating peace and prosperity in their communities.
The underlying theme for Sonal and Elsa’s discussion that afternoon over a coffee was to build access to safe spaces for girls irrespective of their economic strata. Understanding each other’s strength areas, Elsa’s being, managing a strong technology platform and Sonal’s being, quality grassroot work to work for India’s at risk girls through creative arts, this campaign came up over a period of ensuing 7-8 months, when Elsa and Sonal met again at Mumbai. Before they knew it, Salini, took the onus to execute it with Protsahan’s girl leaders in Delhi!
Since then, Salini bought in more people to collaborate, Brianna, Aarya and so many more fabulous young people who have added to the campaign in their own unique ways! Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this campaign has successfully been completed. Phase 1 involved the girls understanding the issue of safe public spaces, interacting & brainstorming with the Safecity team on finding unique yet local solutions to problems that plague girl safety in Uttam Nagar slum community in New Delhi. It also involved a Slum Panchayat Session where Sonal interacted with the mothers of the girls and explained them the importance of doing data mapping of their streets and communities.
Phase 2 of the campaign progressed when the mothers became crusaders alongside their daughters on this campaign! From initial hiccups where they were afraid; to the subsequent stage where they patted their girls’ backs and asked them to tread with complete confidence and raise their voice, this campaign has traversed a path breaking journey indeed. Exactly this time, while the campaign execution was happening in the slums, an unrelated, but brutal incident had taken place in the community where a 8 year old boy was raped and murdered. Though the initial reaction of the community was to feel scared, gradually when the Protsahan girls picked up their batons with the team from Safecity, there has been no looking back. They have gone ahead and collected over 117 reports with hardcore data sets where they have recorded both qualitative and quantitative responses to understand the issue of street sexual harassment and more in the related context.
It is now that they have started documenting their voices in form of creative design posters which’ll go up on the walls of their communities. Also, a small film is being shot documenting the entire progress of the campaign alongside our learnings and what could have been achieved more innovatively. The girls are excited and so are we!
Here is another update that we made on Facebook, in the initial phases of the campaign going live with execution when the girls started documenting data on computers!
Stay tuned for the campaign film that’ll be out in a few weeks! It’s turning out to be one revolutionary piece of work executed by young adolescent children.
Do tweet to us at @NGOProtsahan and @PinTheCreep, we are waiting to hear from you on what you have to say about this effort by the girls :-)
This is what they are saying on twitter!
To know more about our work, check out our official website: www.protsahan.co.in
Pune, June,2014 : In keeping with Protsahan’s aim of providing a safe and empathetic environment where issues that affect adolescent girls in urban slums are openly addressed, Protsahan’s Pune chapter kick started a series of workshops addressing child marriage on 29th June.
In the interactive session, students confronted big questions about the ethics and effects of child marriage. They found answers in their small and simplified personal objections, which nonetheless resonate with the more widely- recognized arguments. Thus for instance, when asked why girls should not be married at an early age, they responded with statements like “she would not know everything”, “she will have to wear kumkum”, “she will have to do a lot of work and cook food for many,” “she will have to go away from her mother”, resonating with objections about forced maturity in child brides. Or, when asked what such a child would miss out on, they responded, “playing,” “studying,” “fulfilling her dreams,” “dressing up”, echoing scholarly objections about the opportunity cost, lack of over-all development and decrease in human resource.
“शादी का मतलब कुम-कुम”
(Marriage to me is kumkum) – An 11 year old girl from the slums of Pune
After class, when one of the girls’ tear-filled eyes led to a one-on-one discussion, it was discovered that adults in her family had already begun considering the logistics of her marriage. To this little girl, child marriage was a very real prospect, not just an issue one reads, analyzes and discusses.
It is here that the paradox of this delicate issue can be understood. While academics bicker, governments frame (or don’t frame) policy and the activist youth protests, the child herself, the very subject of the issue, is left out of the equation. However, the girls’ naïve and concise, but accurate understanding of the problem, and the anxiety that first-hand experience brings, indicates whose ideas should really matter.
Recognizing this, we at Protsahan encouraged our students to express their opinions, using story-telling, theatre, film-making, photography and art, all of which will be part of future workshops on the topic. To culminate this one artistically, the girls designed a poster, symbolically marked with tears in the child bride’s eyes.
With more sessions to come, there’s more to learn and more to create.
With inputs from Vartika Gupta
Girls at Protsahan never shy away from a challenge, for their stories always start at extremely complex, difficult points – social rejection and isolation, abuse, discrimination, familial pressures, poverty – but nonetheless, their plot lines are designed to move towards happy endings. For when you’re rewriting your own destiny, with hands held by some of country’s best young people, you are sure to blossom into into some fine young women.
Volunteering at Protsahan makes you responsible for these little authors who are re-writing their own destinies. We are looking for volunteers/ volunteer organizations/ CSR arms of corporates who are skilled at photography, filmmaking, creative arts to come teach Protsahan children and to document Protsahan’s work. You could also support us financially. Financial contributions go a long way to train our girls on citizen media and filmmaking, embroidery and mehndi art and other artistic pursuits which they use to explore their horizons, as well as use these creative forms of expression to empower themselves with a creative skill. Protsahan then gives the children the freedom to make use of these newly learned skills to express themselves. Thus as a volunteer, you become a facilitator to the change the kids want to bring in her own life.
But even as you work on building their self-esteem, IQ, world view and skills, you too will be drawn out of your comfort zone and confront difficult realities, question the notions you hold and be compelled to think out of the box. For instance, Ramit, one of the volunteers, always places himself in their shoes before teaching the kids something and as a result sometimes ends up saying something entirely different from what he originally intended, due to the change in perspective. The best part about being a volunteer however, has to be the sheer warmth you’re greeted with every time you walk into the street school, surrounded by kids who are eager to learn and love you enough to ask when you’ll be coming next.
The freedom that is given to kids at Protsahan also extends to volunteers, who are expected to be as creative as possible, and hey, if you’ve got a crazy idea, pitch it! Moreover, the system is completely transparent, and your efforts will always be recognized (Yes, there will be a letter of recommendation if you want one). The transparency at Protsahan with everyday’s work being shared through their online & digital platforms (Twitter & Facebook) make the process truly engaging!
If you’re a worker bee in the corporate world, take a break from your boss on a weekend and come feed your soul. If you’re a student, get off the couch this summer break and make a change in a life that’ll last forever! For more information, visit http://protsahan.co.in/internships
Come understand the courage it takes Manisha to raise her arm and volunteer an answer in class, she is the same girl that was denied admission to a government school because they thought her IQ was below par. Come and marvel at Kiran’s confidence, she is the kid who always wanted to learn English, and just last week had addressed a SAARC summit with her views on child marriage. Come and take a privileged look into Fatima’s songbook and quick is she at Abacus calculations, she is the same girl whose family wanted to marry her off at 11. Come and commend Anju for being the most well groomed student, a trait she picked up after grooming sessions at Protsahan and seeing the simple yet neatly dressed volunteer didis and bhaiyas that subtly influenced her!
Come, capture our children’s stories as short films for us. Come, volunteer. Come, teach them things that you know best. If you have knowledge, let them light their candles from it.
Come be part of a story that’s greater than yours alone.
After getting a little lost, I nervously waited in front of the landmark given to me and worried about what was expected of me. But soon enough two little girls came to pick me up and I could swear I’d seen them somewhere, but then again, probably not. Khushboo and Fatima effortlessly put me at ease as one explained directions and the other giggled at my pathetic jokes. And just like that, we were friends. On entering the classroom, I was welcomed by a room full of familiar faces. Really, where had I seen them before? And then I understood. The website. [www.protsahan.co.in] The first thing I learnt about Protsahan is that unlike other such organizations, it wasn’t far-removed from the people it worked with. Here, every child was a celebrity enough to be featured on their website. The logic of working with a small number was to positively affect the lives of children in the long run as opposed to a token donation or a single workshop that left them less than empowered. As Sonal (Founder CEO at Protsahan) put it, the aim was to make each of them a ‘superstar’.
It was obvious that my arrival had created a flurry in class (Hey, so maybe I’m a celebrity too?). ‘What was her name again?’ And then I received a chit – Lovebisti. Yup, definitely the best version so far, gonna keep that one. The actual discussion in class however, was a more serious one – problems faced by women. I wondered how much of the issue 12 year old girls could understand, but my brain was forced to shut up, as they not only recognized the various issues but even narrated personal incidents. I realized that these were not average, cocooned children and so distancing them from uncomfortable discussions was incorrect. Rather what was required was a frank conversation so that they are better equipped to deal with issues like sexual abuse, female foeticide and child marriage, if ever confronted by them. Therefore, they understood good touch-bad touch and even knew how to file an FIR. Later I realised, most of Protsahan’s fabulous volunteers came through the twitter brigade. I believe this is fascinating…using a social media site to talk about a issue #Protsahan works on each day and each night and involves young people across #Delhi and #India with complete transparency, with its Founder tweeting live updates and everyday happenings, sometimes even how the basic donations are spent and even a call for more volunteers for their children. It is through this medium that a brilliant array of volunteering teams is created at Protsahan and the young children and girls get maximum exposure to hundreds of learning tools from a basket of such different volunteers from all walks of life!
So even though its a small charity training home which provides a safe learning space for young and little girls to bloom beautifully into dignified adolescence its everyday work is fabulously transparent on Twitter and Facebook! Here is another example after my class!
Protsahan’s approach of using art to combat women’s and children’s issues however is what truly sets them apart. This is visible in the daily routine of meditating to music, creative storytelling and workshops on photography and art. This allows the children to creatively express their grouses, opinions and solutions to problems that are all around them, and become the agents of their own emancipation. The most impressive example of this is the short film on open defecation, which was fully scripted and acted in by the children, called ‘Cleanliness is Godliness’ : See it on Youtube!
The drops of paint on the floor, the ‘filmmaker’ badge pinned to the board and the Madhubani bookmark given to me, are evidence of Protsahan’s spirit of encouraging expression and empowerment through art. It was the manifestation of their aim to remove the prefix of ‘at risk’ to their identity, and replace it with photographer, artist and filmmaker.
Navishti [aka Lovebisti :)]
Changemaker Intern @Protsahan
“Stories are the way human beings understand and communicate our deepest values”, Marshall Ganz
Across the world, storytelling has been used as an effective means of social change. Tales of great leaders have inspired many more in bringing a revolution. Cinema for years has been used as a mass medium of storytelling, spreading information and building awareness about social issues. The art of storytelling through Cinema has helped many change makers in imparting a message effectively. Cinema is a unique form because it is able to transcend illiteracy; therefore it can be easily viewed and digested by everyone, regardless of age or education. Film is an amazingly powerful medium to bring people face to face with issues they won’t experience.
At Protsahan, we take pride in being able to touch sensitive social issues with the help of film making. Social issues portrayed in a motion picture’s narrative can resonate with audiences and generate discussion around these issues. This discussion, or discourse, can help construct new ways of thinking and talking about social issues or it can perpetuate the manner in which these issues are already being discussed. The process of film making helps embed a message in the minds of the young ones and gives them a sense of accomplishment and confidence, along with the message being effectively embedded in their minds. In 2013, Protsahan partnered with UNICEF in their initiative “Say No to Open Defecation”. Protsahan conducted workshops across its centres and encouraged the kids to tell their stories and experiences about Open Defecation through short movies. The films were then made by our kids. The girls took care of every minute detail including script writing, acting, shooting, directing, visualising, editing, all by themselves. The film was made possible with the help of many volunteer photographers and film makers.
Protsahan has also partnered with many such initiatives and through innovative approaches of art, digital stories, photography technology and cinema, conveyed topics which are considered a taboo.
On 17th January 2014, CII along with India@75 and Yi (Young Indians) celebrated the Art, Literature and Sports Day of the National Volunteering Week. National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. For the first time in India, an attempt is being made to have a volunteering week and celebrate a National Volunteering Week & National Volunteering Day across the country by people from different walks of life jointly by India@75 &Young Indians (Yi). The NVW is an exercise to generate awareness and promote volunteerism in the country.
To commemorate the week, Protsahan screened 2 films made by our kids on Open Defecation in their own communities. The screening was held across all centres of Protsahan in Delhi. The parents and many others from their community were invited to watch the movie and get the message. The screening was done in the open as the message concerns a large section of the society who do not have access to clean and functional toilets. Hence, the venues were strategically selected to attract local vendors, rickshaw walas, homeless in and around the area.
Through the movie screening, we reached around 800 people who viewed the film across all screening locations. Out of these, 180-200 people were our kids and their family. The screening served a dual purpose of exhibiting the work of the kids along with sending across an important yet ignored message. Open defecation is the common cause of many illnesses and also the most common amongst Indians.
The parents of the girls were surprised to see the films and could hardly believe that their own girls could make movies on such important issues. Nishu’s mother felt proud as she said “मुझे यकीन नहीं होता कि ये फ़िल्म मेरी बेटी ने बनाई है। मेरी बेटी इतनी बड़ी बड़ी बाते करने लगी है और खुद ही इतने आचे विषय पर फ़िल्म बनाना सीख गयी”. (I can’t believe that this film is made by daughter. My daughter talks about such big things and made a film herself on such an important issue”). The girls were delighted and proud of themselves. Fatima’s mothers also confessed, “आपने हमारे बच्चों कि ज़िन्दगी बदल दी, आप का बोहोत बोहोत आभार है”, (You have changed the lives of our kids. We are extremely grateful to you). The girls were delighted and proud of themselves.
Volunteers bring along with them specialisation and diversity. Due to fewer vested interests, volunteers show credibility and objectivity. Enriched with new ideas and experience from different fields, Volunteers share constructive criticism and feedback.
Protsahan requests everyone to volunteer and give back to their communities in any way possible. We call out for professionals with electronic gadgets like laptops, iPads, Kindle to come and introduce our kids to new technologies and keeping them up-to-date so that they become at par with the other kids their age.