The following offers a biannual report of Community Outreach efforts and the KVK Skills Development Center at GoPhil partner Shakti Shalini – a program designed to combat gender-based violence in India. As the nationwide lockdown commenced in March 2020, Shakti Shalini had to quickly restructure its work and adapt to a new normal. The following depicts community survey results alongside how KVK progressed from July – December 2020, developing innovative methods to reach Shakti Shalini beneficiaries.
To measure the impact of restrictions imposed by Covid-19, Shakti Shalini conducted a survey of 120 households in the five communities of South East Delhi in the month of September 2020. The survey primarily pertained to economic conditions and employment, availability of food, and lack of access to regular classrooms/education. The survey seeks to plan a future course of action for facilitating assistance with regards to the problems identified. Some of the findings with regards to the survey were:
Economic & Employment
- 71% of families reported a shortage of rations because of the cascading effects of lockdown;
- 60% of families reported difficulty in finding work;
- 58% of families are dependent upon a single earning member in the household;
- 37% of families lost jobs as a result of lockdown and government-imposed restrictions;
- 32% of families reported working for lower/inadequate compensation for work;
- 76% of families currently unemployed are willing to change their occupation due to a dearth of employment opportunities in post-Covid India and the need to feed their families.
- 75% of families reported unavailability of smartphone/laptop/internet as the primary reason for lack of awareness regarding online classes;
- 46% of families reported that their children are attending regular classes;
- 60% of families reported that no assistance was provided by schools for ensuring access to online classes and regular attendance of students.
RATION RELIEF DRIVE
Due to the nationwide lockdown, hundreds of thousands of people faced a humanitarian crisis that has brought work to a grinding halt for many migrants and daily wage workers. Earnings have disappeared overnight and hunger hangs over the poor. The Indian government provided rations to those with government documents, while organizations like Shakti Shalini organized ration drives to distribute rations in predominantly migrant communities.
Thus, for our second ration drive supported by GoPhilanthrophic, we aimed to identify people who don’t have ration cards or are staying in rented houses as they found it difficult to receive ration even from the above-mentioned stakeholders.
MENSTRUAL HYGIENE AWARENESS
In collaboration with Shakti Shalini, Project Baala engaged 26 adolescent girls from five marginalized communities where Shakti Shalini works to raise awareness on a range of menstrual health, including the use of cloth and other related topics like the environmental implications of non-biodegradable pads, how to deal with period-related symptoms and when to see a doctor. As part of this partnership, around 1,000 cloth pad kits, each of which lasts for 2 years, were distributed to young women and girls from the communities.
KVK SKILLS DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
Almost all classes have seen an increase in the number of participants. Thus, a number of new activities are being planned. As the nature of engaging with the participants changed and was shifted to phone calls for cutting tailoring, beauty culture, and computer training, it has been seen that a lot of new people from the communities have engaged via phone calls and WhatsApp. New enrollments have also been seen in these three classes.
The following is a brief overview of each KVK area.
KVK & Artivism Participation
English is yet another class that we managed to bring online for the participants at Pehchan. In the beginning, the challenge was for participants to open up and not be ashamed of making mistakes but now this is no more a challenge. There has been an increase in the number of Hindi to English translations that the participants do in each session. The participants throughout their classes have been reading powerful books and have been decoding the language through books like Kamla Das's autobiography, Like a Girl, On the Run with Fotikchand by Satyjit Ray and Toba Tek Singh.
Cutting and tailoring have been functioning completely by phone and WhatsApp. The trainer, along with socio-emotional support, has started recording personalized tutorial videos and sharing them every week over the participant’s WhatsApp group while also taking questions over the group.
Beauty culture is providing socio-emotional support via phone calls and recorded personalized tutorial videos for participants in the communities. We also created a WhatsApp group where each week a training video is uploaded and discussions are carried out.
The computer trainer has been making regular calls and preparing for theoretical video modules as practical modules might not be accessible to all participants as not everyone has a computer at home. The computer trainer is currently preparing modules for online classes for the residents at Pehchan (Shakti Shalini women’s shelter) which will hopefully start in the next quarter.
Teaching photography is really difficult over a video call, thus the volunteer trainers have come up with creative ways of weaving value-based exercises within photography content. For instance, in one of the sessions, the participants were learning about portraits and the portraits from the #blacklivesmatter protests. Participants were asked to identify emotions from the expressions and faces of the portraits and the participants came up with emotions like anger, sadness, rage, etc.
Zumba was one exercise that was started during the nationwide lockdown and it seemed to be really healthy for the mind and body of the participants at Pehchan and they enjoy the sessions a lot thus it continued in a regular way. Currently, 7 participants from Pehchan participate in Zumba, it has now become a self-initiated session where the participants themselves log in to the online Zumba channels and take 60-minute sessions.
Women and girls are key agents of development and change. Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is vital to building fair, inclusive, prosperous, and peaceful societies everywhere. It is through partnerships like Shakti Shalini that GoPhilanthropic is able to reach the frontline and make a long-lasting impact at the grassroots.
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