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

Background of the Project

DIKSHA, as a program works with adolescents as partners in change. It focuses on the development of inner strength and emphasizes on the integration of individual development with the needs of the community. DIKSHA’s efforts 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 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.

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 day in and day out. Khidirpur on the other hand is adjacent to the Calcutta Port. The red light areas of Khidirpur (Doighata and Munshigunj) are only a few kilometers 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 labors in nearby garages, fish markets, catering, white wash and painting of buildings, in shops and establishments, open 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

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Key Result Area: 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-centers.
* Need based individual Counselling of 30% identified children (at risk/ abused) and 20% parents of the identified children in 3 centers motivated for Counselling.
* 15 Children’s Group identifies at least 1 case each and counsels their peers on abuse.

* 120 sessions were undertaken in the year with 185 children (boys – 110, girls – 75) in the year; Transect walk was completed in 3 wards to map safe and unsafe spaces. Analyses of the findings were compiled and will be shared with the children for further incorporation in implementation strategy.
* 34 children (Kalighat – 18, Khidirpur -2, Munsigunj -13) were engaged in Counseling. 3 parents were involved in the Counseling of their children.
* 36 mothers meetings were held in the 3 project areas which resulted in sharing of issues of children and taking actions accordingly. Of the 36 sessions, 12 sessions on dance therapy were undertaken in Kalighat and Munsigunj by Sanved to address their personal challenges.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* 10 members of Rakhi Group are capacitated to intervene in cases of abuse and campaign against abuse.
* 2 group Counseling held with all children who have disclosed/ reported substance dependence.
* Motivate 50% children dependent on substance for individual Counselling.
* Community-based Resource Team members identify 100% children engaged in substance abuse and motivate them for Counselling in Kalighat.

* Group Counseling was held in the 3 centers focused on abuse and violence. A group of 9 children are motivating their peers on identification of behavioral problems in them. A total of 73 children were mapped and are periodically monitored through the violence meter. Amongst them, 20 children reported a decrease in facing of violence.
* A group of 9 children were developed who were trained to identify the behavioral traits of their peers indicating the need for Counseling.
* 55 members (25 in Munsigunj and 30 in Khidirpur) of the Rakhi Group are equipped to intervene in cases of abuse and take up the issue in their locality to prevent the same.
* A document on abuse and violence through comics was published. Six comics were developed through the comics workshops on child sexual abuse. In addition the children developed skits which have been presented in the community program in Kalighat.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* 6 Comics, posters and skits to be developed on child sexual abuse from the 3 centers for developing awareness on child sexual abuse and its ill effects in all centers, especially in Khidirpur and Munsiganj.
* Home visits undertaken in 3 intervention areas for all identified children (at risk/ abused) and at least 20% parents motivated for Counselling.
* School attendance ensured for 50% Children (6-14 years) engaged in Child Labor and ensure protective environment for children.

* 10 children were identified being dependent on substance. Amongst them, 3 children could be motivated for individual Counseling, including one girl who is being taken to Samikshani for counseling and psychiatric medical support.
* Home visits were undertaken for the 14 reported cases of child sexual abuse. Of the 14 cases, 7 cases (50%) could be linked to Counseling. Involvement of 2 fathers who could be linked with Counseling along with mothers for the first time. And one each from Kalighat and Munsigunj were taken for prosecution.
* Total children 4 boys aged 6-14 years were identified as active in labor. Among them, 3 could be mainstreamed into studying in school. One boy in Munsigunj had to drop out for financial reasons to support his mother and his siblings.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* 10 Children with Leadership Skills to be developed for motivating peers and identifying Children vulnerable to Marriage.
* Ensure all identified children vulnerable to marriage and in relationships brought into the fold of Group, individual Counselling, Life Skills training and Play Therapy.

* 11 drop out children (boys -9, girls -2) was enrolled in the year.
* A group of 9 children with leadership skills were developed over the years who are acting as peer leaders to motivate the other children engaged in relationships from not marrying. Peer Counseling is being provided by the 9 children who have been developed and are now confident of addressing their peers
* From the three intervention areas 100 adolescents engaged (equal no. of boys and girls) in the relationship could be motivated and influenced for not getting into marriage. Elder siblings proved to be helpful along with need based engagement with the partners to preclude Child Marriage.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Key Result Area: 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.
* 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.

* 4 workshops were undertaken in 2 schools with 200 students. These workshops helped in discussing the child protection issues with the school children, understanding their concerns and capacitating them to identify their or their peers for redress.
* In Naba Krishna Pal Adarsha Shikshayatan of Ward no. 92, the Education Plus processes with children and teachers resulted in children being able to place their issues. It has also helped in developing a group of 10 children who have leadership skills to engage with their teachers for placing issues of children.

Highlights of technical and capacity building inputs:

Published 6 volumes of “Our Stories through Comics” which captured the different forms of abuse sourced from workshop with children. These brought up majorly cases of child sexual abuse. The many ways in which the children’s voices and responses to the different forms of abuse are being addressed can be captured through the comics in the content of the publication. This document can be used by practitioners who are working on addressing Child Abuse as it gives the steps to be followed and also story lines which can be contextualized as per the settings in which the organizations are working. It also is a publication where children’s expression has been captured through a participatory process.

Highlights on community action and government interface:

* DIKSHA has received consent from schools in Kalighat and Munsigunj to undertake the sessions on Child Protection and Leadership development. In the wake of the Education Department not being open in letting NGO’s work in schools, obtaining permission from the school proved to be a viable alternative to initiate a school engagement program.
* DIKSHA has maintained liaison with Kolkata Police along with the local Police Stations for registering cases under POCSO, facilitating the Medical Examination of survivors and also placing the cases before CWC so that the cases can be taken up for prosecution and not be dismissed by Police.
* Engagement with the councilors has strengthened their position in the Wards and accessing the ULB (urban local bodies) for redress in cases of violation has improved.


Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Preventive and responsive initiatives undertaken to reduce child abuse (violence against children - physical, mental and sexual) and substance abuse

* Conduct 8 monthly sessions on abuse, child labor, child marriage, substance abuse and other issues related to child protection in the 3 drop-in-centers.
* Ensure need based individual Counselling of 30% identified children (at risk/ abused) and 20% parents of the identified children in 3 centers.
* 10 members of Rakhi Group to be capacitated to intervene in cases of abuse and campaign against abuse.
* Conduct one workshop to develop children’s anger and self-management capacities along with improved leadership skills.
* Group Counselling in 3 intervention areas held with all children who have disclosed/reported substance dependence.
* Conduct individual Counselling for 10% of 52 children identified as dependent on substance through last year.
* Initiate the formation of a support group of de-addicted children.
* 3 skits to be developed on child sexual abuse from the 3 centers for developing awareness on child sexual abuse and its ill effects.
* Liaise & Interface with WLCPC, Police, Health officials, child welfare committee and other stakeholders for addressing child sexual abuses.

Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Prevent & reduce child labor and child marriage

* School attendance ensured for 50% Children aged 6-14 years engaged in child labor and ensure protective environment for children.
* Home visit to families of all 18 identified children of last year and new cases that are vulnerable to Child Marriage.
* Capacitate 10 children with leadership skills for motivating peers and identifying children vulnerable to marriage and ensure 18 children identified as vulnerable to child marriage do not get married.

Fully functional Juvenile Justice (JJ) systems in project area.

* Conduct 4 workshops each in schools in the 3 ward.
* Build capacities of children from 3 wards to voice protection issues to WLCPCs.
* Initiate quarterly meeting to strengthen child protection mechanisms involving the local councillor, schools, police, club representatives, rakhi group members and other key members from the community, for providing community based safety to children at risks and in need of care & protection.

Financial Summary: January to December 2020

Budget Breakup 2020










Total Grant Approved