“My buddies said that menstruation is awful. But at the camp, we learned it’s desirable and a natural procedure in ladies. I’ll cross lower back and tell my friends that they have been incorrect,” stated Vijay, a class eight pupil.
These are the phrases of Vijay, a category eight student, who attended Fireflies, a camp organized using VOICE four Girls, an NGO that has been running with youngsters in schools under the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) and Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TTWREIS). The societies run residential academic institutions (class five to diploma stage) in the state below the Telangana Ministry of Scheduled Caste Development and the Telangana Ministry of Tribal Welfare respectively.
Recently, they had been doing some thing quite clean – with the help of VOICE 4 Girls; they may be coaching boys in these schools about menstruation, intellectual health, consent, and extra. And the impact of the equal is meditated in Vijay’s phrases.
It’s 2019, but in lots of colleges, sexuality training, if it exists inside the first area, is still restricted to a one-off session wherein women are talked to approximate menstruation. Though the lads are excluded from this dialogue, menstruation turns into all but an open mystery, regularly becoming a remember of disgrace for the girls. To cope with this, VOICE 4 Girls had organized ‘Fireflies’, a camp for boys to speak about problems like consent, reproductive fitness, intellectual fitness, and so on.]
Vijay’s video becomes shared on Twitter with the aid of RS Praveen Kumar, secretary of TSWREIS as well as TTWREIS, who stressed that empowerment of ladies couldn’t be completed without instructing men about gender and empathy too.
What happens at the camps?
Fireflies that is an 8-day camp held from May 6 to thirteen, engaged with 743 adolescent boys from Telangana Social Welfare Schools from round ninety-four locations. The camps have been performed simultaneously in 4 specific places across Telangana, in Husnabad, Tirumalayapalem, Miryalaguda, and Boinapally.
VOICE 4 Girls designs its content material based totally on primary research with students. Faiza Khan, who designed the curriculum for the lads’ camp, says that the material is rooted inside the boys’ social context, and is repeatedly revised primarily based on how college students reply. Further, while it’s far in the main in English, Telugu versions of the books are also to be had. To de-jargonize ideas, terms from the nearby language are used too.
The camp counselors are typically young university college students, who’re fastidiously skilled in class management and the use of regular lifestyles stories while explaining difficult concepts. Female counselors train at the women’ camps and male counselors at the boys’ camp.
Students are given the curated books, but mastering isn’t restricted to the page. The subjects and thoughts are taught creatively, using skits, games, and sports.
For example, to provoke a verbal exchange around consent, counselors facilitate a pastime in which college students split into agencies and give you a skit about making and serving tea. The round conversation consent begins through facilitating a discussion approximately the soreness of having someone impose a drink when they do now not want it, after which movements on to things like giving hugs and organizing bodily touch. Boys are encouraged to empathize with women’ stories in such eventualities. Another activity they undertook to provide an explanation for the idea of sufferer blaming to boys changed into one wherein they were requested to stay lifestyles in the day of a female, Rani. “They sincerely took a liking to this hobby and got towels to dress up as Rani. Then they are made to play act instances from her existence, wherein she faces violence and is blamed for it. The roleplay with the aid of the boys became notable,” Faiza says.
While debriefing after the hobby, Faiza says the men felt without a doubt empathetic towards girls and skilled a leap forward. “They stated that they had never realized women went via these items,” she says.
A secure area
Laasya says that the studying curve with the Telangana Social Welfare Schools students has been high as they address topics that aren’t talked about or are taboo. So, students are curious to recognize greater.
The camp also has become a place for reflection and introspection for these young boys as well. For instance, there has been a boy who got here to camp with the firm belief that ladies have been wrong to wear brief skirts. “The counselor and other kids attempted to cause with him, but he wouldn’t budge. However, his outlook changed by day eight. He got here and advised his counselor that ladies have the proper to wear what they want and must now not be judged for it. The transition became quite heartening,” shares Faiza. While those effects are heartening, Praveen Kumar says that it’s too early to talk approximately long-time period effect. “We are hoping those boys will become greater sensitive towards ladies, approximately their reviews and biological strategies going ahead. We desire that the youngsters could be sharing what they’ve found out with their buddies and mother and father. We are planning to continue to conduct such focus applications on a larger scale within the destiny.”
Why communicate to boys?
VOICE four Girls conducts pastime-based camps in government and inexpensive private schools for 12 to fifteen-year-olds, addressing subject matters like fitness, protection, and future planning, while simultaneously constructing English speak me abilities and important thinking. It has, in particular, worked with adolescent girls from Telangana Social Welfare Schools for the past five years. However, while carrying out co-ed workshops in the beyond, camp counselors felt the need to speak to boys approximately ladies’ experiences, says Anusha Bharadwaj, VOICE 4 Girls Executive Director.
“Fireflies become the primary phase of the lads’ software. It brought them to numerous subjects, which include intellectual health, reproductive fitness, violence, rights, the role of media, and so on. Building in this, the second section, Supernova, will talk approximately deconstructing gender, recognizing socially-built masculinity, and gender-primarily based violence, amongst different subjects. There is also a management aspect in Supernova, pushing them to be network leaders,” Laasya Reddy, a Content and Communications Officer at VOICE 4 Girls, tells TNM. “We wish to cause them to ambassadors who can take steps towards creating a gender identical world.”
Praveen Kumar says that the workshops had been a step to encourage young boys to end up sensitive, empathetic, and accountable guys. “Boys often convey stereotypical notions round what ladies and women can or can’t do. These boys are going to develop as much as to be guys, husbands, co-people. We want them to be better prepared to handle their relationships with women around them. It’s crucial that they’re capable of make manner for range anyplace they end up as adults,” he asserts.