About 46% children face sexual abuse in India, and most of them never report it, according to a team of five from IIT-Kanpur, who are raising awareness about CSA in children.
Children can be taught to be aware of how to prevent sexual abuse or what to do in situations leading to it. That was the focus of a team of five students from IIT-Kanpur, guided by Design Program faculty Jhumkee Iyengar. Apoorva Aggarwal, Mitali Bhasin, Sneha Parhi, Sachin NP and Swayamsiddha Panigrahi developed a kit that could help teachers, volunteers or anyone interested in the cause to teach children about being careful.
Iyengar, who teaches human-centric design on a post-graduate level, said in a quote to Hindustan Times that their aim was to save children’s innocence by giving them the necessary knowledge about such issues. “The central message to kids is that being abused is not their fault and that they should freely discuss their problems with parents or teachers,” she added.
The kit can be used to conduct workshops for children, where they learn about personal safety, control over one’s body, and the differences between good touch and bad touch.
The kit consists of interactive information that is put across in a fun, educational way that is interesting to children.
A set of game question cards that can be answered in yes or no are divided into topics by colour.
Blue cards have concrete informational questions about their bodies, who is allowed to touch them, and when to say no. Yellow cards explore the various kinds of good touch and bad touch, while green cards help children think about who they should trust and where they can find help. The final set of red cards are for 11- to 12-year-old children, which has complex questions about emotions, guilt and shame.
To complement the blue cards, the interactive posters in the kit helps children retain the information visually. The kit also contains a manual for those who are conducting the workshop, and two CDs for the facilitator and the children. The children’s CD contains animated cartoons that complement the information in the yellow and green cards.
According to Iyengar, the kit is designed for children between eight and 12 years of age, and one session can have 30-35 children.
As a year-long project, the team took part in extensive field research and conducted studies. They also took inputs from teachers, parents, psychologists and counsellors. They also interviewed children from slums in Kanpur.
With approval from experts and psychologists, the kit is currently being tested in schools. Iyengar said, “We tested the product internally and iteratively as it was being defined and refined. It was also tested by the staff of an NGO on the children they serve. Pilot testing is being done in schools and the product is being further refined.”
The team also plans to translate the kit to regional languages for a wider reach and benefit.