India has the largest population of adolescents in the world. Of the 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10–19 years worldwide, 243 million, i.e., roughly 20%, live in India. Adolescence is a vulnerable period in one’s life – a time when many important social, cultural, economic and biological events take place which set the stage for adulthood.
During this period, girls often face certain challenges that hold them back from excelling in many fields. Moreover, issues like gender discrimination, sexual harassment, trafficking, child marriage, adolescent pregnancy, etc. are becoming increasingly common nowadays.
This programme aims to improve the adolescent girls’ understanding of social skills, access to health information and services, enhance opportunities for continuation of education and increase the possibilities for participation and leadership opportunities in their communities. It also focuses on enhancing and strengthening knowledge of girls on the essential domain areas such as, education, life skills, sexual health, menstrual health and hygiene, leadership, nutrition, gender and livelihood.
In order to implement this programme, Sashakt Foundation recruits Youth Mentors and Assistant Youth Mentors from the local community to engage with the community at the grassroots level. Sashakt Foundation working in the communities of Mandawali, Hassanpur, Nawada and Khoda in Delhi NCR. Similar sessions are also being conducted in the tribal areas of Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Sports For Development (S4D)
The Adolescent Girls’ Empowerment Programme is primarily based on the concept and approach of experiential learning where we use sports as an educational tool. Through their professional and voluntary structures, sports facilitate participation and creates a sense of belonging across ethnic and social divides. Football, specifically, is used as a means of targeting the needy adolescents that brings together many people in one team, united to play together for one ball. The sessions of the programme are designed as
such that along with playing, it also covers the topics on education, life skills, leadership, etc. S4D sessions are currently ongoing in the communities of Hasanpur, Mandawali, Khoda and Nawada in Delhi NCR, and the tribal regions of Ranchi, Jharkhand.
Sports for Excellence (S4E)
The students who perform well in the S4D sessions and are keen to pursue sports, especially football is shifted to Sashakt Foundation’s Sports for Excellence (S4E) initiative. S4E is a training cum coaching programme for the adolescent girls and boys in Football. The students are divided in teams and are professionally trained in the sport. The coaches that are connected to this programme are AIFF C Level and D Level certified. They are provided with the gears required to play at state and regional levels and participate in various tournaments organized.
Menstrual Health and Hygiene
In India, menstruation is still a topic that is dealt with silence, where girls and women are discouraged to talk about it in the open. Along with the silence, there are lot of taboos, superstitions and stigmas attached to it. This leads to absence of proper information about the menstruation process and how to manage the menstrual cycles and waste. Sashakt Foundation is trying to break the silence around the topic and impart knowledge about it. In this matter, sessions on topics such as the menstrual process (biology), the use of sanitary napkins, demolishing myths, hygienic practices, safe disposal, available health services and how they can be a support system to others, are conducted by the team. Men and boys are also included in the sessions so that they can be sensitized about the issue and create a supporting environment. The sessions have created a positive impact in the communities, where the stigma attached to menstruation has diminished.
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