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3 Red light areas in Kolkata, West Bengal
Thematic Intervention: Protection

Project Context

DIKSHA, as a program works with adolescents as partners in change. It focuses on the development of inner strength and emphasizes the integration of individual development with the needs of the community. DIKSHA’s effort are generally aimed at creating change in externalized factors that adversely affect varying segments of civil society in different ways, resulting in a number of organizations providing a wide range of services. The uniqueness of DIKSHA, both programmatically and methodologically, lies in its stress on creating change from within and involvement of adolescent groups through development of CBRT (Community Based Resource Team). Ms. Paramita Banerjee, the founder-coordinator of DIKSHA, has been actively involved in development activities since the early 1980s. DIKSHA is the culmination of her activities with adolescents living in red light areas. Paramita was also selected as regional coordinator of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking) in 2005. Diksha has evolved its own methodology of experiential approach that specializes in offering a safe space to adolescents to make individual development possible. The operational areas of Diksha are red light areas in and around the city of Kolkata - Kalighat and Khidirpur. The third operational area they have ventured is in Suri in Birbhum district. The project works with the children from families dependent on prostitution and the core groups formed with these youths implement the project activities. They have been able to stop entry of second generation into this occupation without any harm in their dignity. ion and the core groups formed of these youths implement the project activities. They have been able to stop entry of 2nd generation into this occupation without any dignity.

Problem Statement:

Kalighat, situated in the southern part of Kolkata is famous for the historic temple. Adjacent to the Kalighat temple is the red light area where around 500 families live a life in which human rights, child rights are violated out rightly. Khidirpur on the other hand is adjacent to the Calcutta Port. The red light areas of Khidirpur (Doighata and Munshigunj) are only a few kilometres away from Kalighat. The situation is somewhat different from that of Kalighat. Women and girls from the adjacent locality entertain clients in the two red light areas mentioned above as the two places are not necessarily brothel based. Young girls are often lured by men who dupe them in the context of marriage through false promises and force them to enter into prostitution. The possibility of girls trafficked in the guise of marriage couldn’t be ruled out as contact with girls post marriage is very rare. As the child grows up, s/he starts supplementing the family income. Boys work as laborers in nearby garages, fish markets, catering, white wash and painting, in shops and establishment, Fancy market and in loading, unloading of goods while the girl child helps in domestic chores, looks after the younger ones or works in nearby middle class households as domestic maids. There is a prevalence of dropout children in Munsigunj as parents do not give importance to education in the community engaged with human scavenging. The easy availability of alcohol and different forms of addiction makes them susceptible to alcoholism, smoking and substance dependence. Girls are seen as a liability to the family members and family members are found to take the girls to their village and often get them married off.

Achievements & Impact

Key Result Area: Reduce child abuse (violence against children - physical, mental and sexual) and substance abuse in 3 project areas.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Organize individual, family and group counseling for children at risk of abuse: physical, mental, sexual and substance.
* Community programs to sensitize community on not selling tobacco products, alcohol and other abusive substances to children.
* Conduct regular sessions on abuse (physical, mental, sexual and substance), child labor, child marriage and child protection in the 3 Drop-in-centers.
* Conduct Play Therapy initiated to identify children’s vulnerability and address them through Counseling
* Capacity Building of Rakhi Group members (of women in prostitution) to campaign and act against abuse of children.
* Organize one community program in collaboration with stakeholders for raising awareness on child protection issues and felicitating actions of different stakeholders.

* 152 children attended the regular sessions in Kalighat, Munsigunj and Khidirpur.
* 7 children facing violence and abuse were counseled in Kalighat.
* 12 children who were substance abusers in Kalighat were identified out of which 2 children are being counseled.
* Group counseling was done through special sessions in the 3 centres with 31 children.
* A workshop on Play Therapy which ran for 6 sessions over 5 weeks was done for the team by Samikshani. Play therapy is an effective medium to deal with children in difficult circumstances.

Key Result Area : Reduce Child labor in project area

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Home visits for advocacy against engagement of children under 14 years in hazardous labor and prevention of school dropout.
* School visit for enrolment / re-enrolment through engagement of teachers, guardians and children.
* Engagement with employers through meetings and discussions.

* There has been continuous interactions with 7 employers who were still engaging children in the operational area which has led to two children coming out of labor in Munsigunj.
* 1 Community program in Kalighat was organised wherein employers who had taken positive action against child labor were felicitated.
* 1 Rakhi event was held in which children tied rakhis to different stakeholders of the program.
* Visits were made to 2 govt schools (one primary and one secondary school) in the year in Munsigunj for enrolment of students. In Kalighat there were interactions with Maha Kali Pathshala for enrolment of children.
* Schools and teachers have been met in Munsigunj (both KMC & Govt aided) to help in the admission of children from both Dompotti and the red light area of Munsigunj.

Key Result Area : Preventive measures are instituted against child marriage and reduce instances of child marriage.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Home visits for advocacy against engagement of children under 14 years in hazardous labor and prevention of school dropout.
* School visit for enrolment / re-enrolment through engagement of teachers, guardians and children.
* Engagement with employers through meetings and discussions.

* 150 children were brought into the ambit of the regular weekly sessions of which 20 were based on Child Marriage.
* 15 cases of marriages were prevented with continuous counseling with the families. Through regular sensitization and counseling guardians of 6 children took the stance that they will not get their wards married off.
* 2 Girls received Kanyashree (the conditional stipend for girls to complete schooling and not get married).
* 16 meetings were held with the local clubs in the reporting period (Kalighat – 5, Khidirpur – 6, Munsigunj – 9).

Key Result Area : Juvenile Justice systems especially CWCs, SJPU, DCPUs are fully functional in 2 operational wards of Kalighat and Chetla.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Conducting Education PLUS workshops in at least 1 school in each ward and feeding in issues of children surfacing from the workshops in the ward level child protection committee (WLCPC).
* Orientation meetings of the WLCPC in conjunction with Praajak to evolve capacities of members.
* Organize meetings of the WLCPCs for discussing the issues of child protection and redressal under the Child Protection systems.

* 2 Ward level Child Protection Committees (WLCPC) orientations have been held in Kalighat and Chetla.
* 2 orientation programs for the project team was done by Praajak & the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) in the period.
* 8 posters were developed in the period on abuse especially child sexual abuse. This led to facilitating discussions on different forms of abuse, especially child sexual abuse to aid disclosure in Munsigunj and Khidrpur.

Other Highlight Processes and Achievements – 2018.

Rakhi Group: This is a vigilante group of 32 women in prostitution from the community, working towards challenging and preventing the earlier norms of giving the girls for marriage at an early age, second generation prostitution, underage prostitution, letting rooms to couples where one might be a minor, entertaining customers who appear to be underage, exclusion of girls from school, non-disclosure of cases of child abuse, violence faced by children and engaging children in labor. In this year, DIKSHA has been able to take up the case of a disclosure with the help of Rakhi Group members, the Councilor and Police and lodge a case under POCSO.

The Community Based Resource Team has been strengthened in Kalighat to prevent and address Child Protection issues. The intervention will further work on identifying women who wield power in Munsigunj to initiate a similar process of developing community based mechanisms for vulnerable children and providing redressal to cases of violations.


Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

In 3 areas of DIKSHA, preventive and responsive Approach undertaken to reduce child abuse (violence against children - physical, mental and sexual) and substance abuse

* Regular sessions (8 monthly sessions) on Abuse, Child labor, Child Marriage, Substance Abuse and related areas of Child Protection in the 3 Drop-in-centres .
* Need based individual counselling of 30% identified children (at risk/abused) and 20% parents of the identified children in 3 centres motivated for counseling.
* Home visits undertaken in 3 intervention areas for all identified children (at risk/abused) and at least 20% parents motivated for counselling.
* Developed group of 15 Children’s Group identify 1 case each and counsel their peers on abuse.
* 10 members of Rakhi Group are capacitated to intervene in cases of abuse and campaign against abuse.
* 2 group counselling held with all children who have disclosed/reported substance dependence.
* Motivate 50% children dependent on substance for individual counseling.
* Community-based Resource Team members identify 100% children engaged in substance abuse and motivate them for counselling in Kalighat.
* To initiate the formation of a support group of de-addicted children.
* 6 Comics, posters and skits to be developed on child sexual abuse from the 3 centres for developing awareness on child sexual abuse and its ill effects in all centres, especially in Khidirpur and Munsiganj.
* Engagement of the WLCPC for coordination amongst the Police, Health officials, child welfare committee and other relevant stakeholders for addressing the issue of child sexual abuse.
* School attendance ensured for 50% Children (6-14 yrs) engaged in Child labor and ensure protective environment for children.
* Increase in number of employers base for reduction of children engaged in labor, provide protective environment to children.
* 10 Children with Leadership Skills to be developed for motivating peers and identifying Children vulnerable to Marriage.
* Continued discussions with older married siblings to influence families of not giving children for marriage.
* To ensure all identified children vulnerable to marriage and in relationships brought into the fold of Group, individual counseling, Life Skills and Play Therapy.

Reduce Child labor in project area

* Home visits for advocacy against engagement of children under 14 years in hazardous labor and prevention of school dropout.
* School visit for enrolment / re-enrolment through engagement of teachers, guardians and children.
* Engagement with employers through meetings and discussions.

Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Fully functional Juvenile Justice (JJ) systems, with specific reference to child protection units in 2 operational wards of Kalighat and Chetla, and supportive role in Khidirpur.

* Conducting Education plus workshops in at least 1 school in each ward.
* In at least 1 school, 10 volunteers to be identified as campaigners and placing the issues before children’s group and school authorities.
* Organize the meetings of the WLCPC for discussing the issues of Child Protection and take them up for redress with the Child Protection system.
* 1 manual to be developed in Child Protection Committee (CPC) strengthening.

Financial Summary: January to December 2018

Budget Breakup 2018










Total Grant Approved