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BALSENA Children in Charge of Change. About Shaishav  “Shaishav” is a Gujarati word meaning “childhood”  We are a voluntary organisation that seeks.

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Presentation on theme: "BALSENA Children in Charge of Change. About Shaishav  “Shaishav” is a Gujarati word meaning “childhood”  We are a voluntary organisation that seeks."— Presentation transcript:

1 BALSENA Children in Charge of Change

2 About Shaishav  “Shaishav” is a Gujarati word meaning “childhood”  We are a voluntary organisation that seeks to free children from child labour and promote the ideas of sensitivity, solidarity, empathy and collective strength as a path to empowerment and social change  Formed in 1992 to tackle the issue of children’s rights in Bhavnagar  Aim to bring together children, adults, government and other organisations to achieve our goals  Strong focus on the issues of child labour, discrimination and exploitation

3 What is Balsena?  Balsena means “Children’s Force” in Gujarati  Independent, child-run collective started on January 12th, 2003  Evolved from on-going process to empower children and enhance participation  Enables children to experience the power of collective strength, take up issues they face, develop empathy for other children and derive support from each other  Unites children regardless of class, caste, gender, religion, or language  By developing these values from a young age, children will grow up to build a more humane, just and peaceful society

4 Shaishav’s Role Facilitator in the children’s process of governing, planning and problem solving Objectives:  Develop qualities such as confidence, sensitivity and the ability to express opinions, among children  Develop leadership qualities and enhance life skills  Increase awareness about child rights  Build up links between diverse groups of children  Encourage children’s participation by providing an environment where they can raise issues related to child rights  Provide training in capacity building  Supply relevant information for taking informed decisions

5 History  At each of our community education centres and schools, children began forming Bal Samiti (children's committees) to take on the responsibility of planning, implementing, monitoring, reporting and evaluating activities  Subsequently, a central Bal Samiti was formed out of representatives from each school and community education centre  After running regular leadership camps for Bal Samiti members, the idea for Balsena was formalised. It is the first children’s collective in Gujarat

6 The Basics of Balsena  All structural elements were decided by the children themselves, including:  Team names  Membership rules  ‘De Tali’ high-five greeting  Song  Pink scarf uniform  Flag and Logo

7 Structure President and Vice-President Executive Committee Council Made up of Team Captains, Vice-Captains and Core Team Members Teams  Teams are organised by centre, school or neighbourhood and each has it’s own name  Leaders from each team form the Balsena Council, the main decision making body  Equal representation of males and females in leadership

8 Voting System Balsena Point teams elect a Captain, Vice-Captain, and 2 core team members. These team leaders form the Balsena council who elect the President and Vice-President of Balsena. Members 2437 children organised into teams Teams 60 Teams elect 4 leaders Council 240 Members made up of team leaders Vice/President Represent all members

9 Key Concepts  Enable children to experience the power of collective strength  Satisfy emotional needs, develop empathy for others and derive support from each other  Empower children with the tools to build a better society where rights, equality and solidarity prevail  Children are the owners of Balsena, and demonstrate the values of democracy and free speech while respecting the views of others  Promotes Indian values of sensitivity, co-living, inclusion and tolerance

10 Membership (April 2011) LocationMembersTeams Schools99418 Communities144342 Total Membership2437 members (1443 boys and 994 girls) 60

11 Shaishav Organised Activities  Educational and developmental training, exposure visits and other programmes  Cultural celebrations  Savings bank  Adolescent Programme  Leadership camp  Vacation Camp  School enrolment drives  Campaign support  Monthly planning meetings  Life skills  Networking

12 Balsena Team Activities  Educational and Developmental Activities  Day Trips  Functions and Celebrations  Sports  Cultural Programmes  Play for Peace Games  Balmela

13 Balsena Point  Aim to ease community tensions by following the idea that children who “play together, stay together”  Centres run in underprivileged areas from Tuesday to Friday, at a different site each day during the evening  Conduct developmental activities, life skills and value education to complement the formal education children receive at school  43 of these centres operate in slum areas, and another 17 in schools

14 Savings Bank  Enables children to save money independently, and gives them skills in financial responsibility and decision-making  Children deposit at least Rs. 5 per week and can make withdrawals for necessary purchases such as school supplies  As of May 2011, 1134 members had saved 631,915 rupees (over US$14,000)

15 Book Bank  Implemented in response to the lack of appropriate educational material  May be because schools are unable to provide books, are providing mainly textbooks rather than exercise books, or that children are simply unable to afford the books they need  3 Book Banks are operating, allowing Balsena and Balghar members to borrow books for up to a week at a time  Constantly topped up with books donated from Balsena students who have completed their studies

16 Adolescent Programme  Developed out of need to provide girls aged 12-16 with quality education on the issues they face during adolescence  Kishori Mandal (Adolescent Girls Club) started in 2005 and was originally run by Shaishav, but now Balsena girls are leading activities  Topics include gender, equal rights, child marriage, sexual harassment, personal safety, and information on physical, physiological, and social changes during adolescence  Information given through discussions, films, games, and other activities  Kishor Mandal was established in 2010 to give boys similar support  By mid-2011 over 350 children were taking part in the programme

17 Vacation & Leadership Camps  Annual Vacation Camp keeps children engaged in learning, and out of the workforce during the vacation period  Followed by an enrolment drive to get children into school before the start of term  Senior children play the role of facilitators  Regular Leadership Camps give training on topics like leadership, event planning, team work, and child rights

18 Annual Function  Annual function for all Balsena members  Includes  Child rights rally  Guest speakers including influential people from Bhavnagar  Educational and creative activities  Presentation about Balsena

19 Children as protagonists for their own rights  Children take up issues in their schools and communities with the local authorities  Children link and network at a wider level with other children’s organisations  State and National Consultations  Child Rights Audit – analysing the situation of children's rights from the perspective of the children themselves  Giving children who have been marginalised, exploited or abused, the help they need to be able to participate fully in society, and enabling children to help each other in the process.

20 Advocacy & Networking  Balsena works with the Girls International Forum, India Social Forum, World Social Forum, Campaign Against Child Labour and Campaign Against Child Labour – Gujarat  Children participate in various state, national and international programmes  Children take issues related to child rights to various government departments and society in general, including child protection, quality education, and health issues  Children provide training to other children about child participation, and share their experiences with adults as well  Children undertake community based work in their own areas and create links within their own communities

21 Future Direction - Programmes  Through the Child Rights Audit, gain a better understanding of the issues affecting children, and use this to better target our programmes  Further increase the role of children in Balsena so that Shaishav can fully embrace its position of facilitator  Encourage participation in Tarunsena, our youth programme, when children leave Balsena at 18

22 Future Direction - Concepts  Encourage future role models in communities, to promote participation and community development from within  Strongly encourage sustainable change from the ground up  Make children more involved in solving the problems they face at home, school, and in the communities themselves  Create an environment in which children can achieve their full potential and become responsible citizens by extending solidarity to all other children

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