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Research, Round III

10th October 2015 : Kishori Shakti Yojana Centre

The Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY) scheme is a redesign of the already existing Adolescent Girls Scheme being implemented in Ahmedabad as a component under the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.

We visited a KSY Centre on Saturday along with a few NGO workers from Manav Sadhna. Each centre is managed by a main teacher along with an assistant teacher, with 20 to 25 girls between the age of 11 and 18 as participants. They use the existing ICDS infrastructure. Their activities aim to improve the nutritional health and development status of adolescent girls. The proliferation of awareness regarding health, hygiene, nutrition and family care is done verbally with the help of illustrative books. Some sessions are accompanied by music and prayers. Lessons are revised by holding quizzes and playing games such as card games and snakes & ladders, adding an element of fun to their learning.

Out of all the different aids and props they use to explain concepts, the most fascinating one was an apron, on which female reproductive organs were drawn, which one teacher would wear while the other explained.

The centre also had a small temple, and the girls were influenced by its presence, and in fact they wanted photographs with the idol. Only the elder girls who were married had a cell phone. The younger ones had no access to the internet, yet they were well aware of the concept of selfies and even requested for one with us! Also, it was surprising that these girls had similar television watching habits (in terms of channels and shows) as the school girls belonging to middle class households whom we had spoken to earlier.

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Insights

  1. For economically backward households, sexuality is even more of a “dirty” topic.
  2. The first reaction when a diagram of the vagina was shown was to look away in disgust. Even after marriage a few were hesitant to accept that they menstruate.
  3. Sexual revolution has yet not reached the far and narrow corners of Indian society.
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