From November 14th-20th, Shaishav celebrated Child Rights Week in Bhavnagar. The entire team spent 7 days advocating in 30 slums around the city, shouting slogans against Child Labour and teaching community members about the Right to Education Act through street dramas and songs. We were proud to have Alicia, a funder from Child Reach International based in the U.K., join for the last two days of the campaign. Shaishav held a press conference on the last day in the town hall to present our activities to the community.
On Friday, October 18th, Dream a Dream arrived in Bhavnagar to facilitate a two-day “Dream Teacher Development” Life Skills Training with Shaishav’s Balsena, Tarunsena and Community Teams, totaling about 30 individuals. The training, named “Dream Teacher Development,” was given by Vishal, one of the founders and Executive Director of Dream a Dream, and Nisha, a seasoned Dream a Dream trainer. Five goals were set for this two-day workshop:
- To Gain a deeper understanding of ourself
- Experience and understand my life skills
- Explore our creativity
- To build a supportive community
- To have fun!
We began by creating community agreements and then did some “ice breakers” or “energizers,” to start the day. Activities over the next two days included everything from theater and improvisation games, which taught empathy and relating with others, to art-based activities. Some of my favorites included “Beautiful You,” where we all outlined our bodies on large pieces of paper and filled in our outlines with positive qualities about ourselves, as well as our closing game, the “Poetry Process.”
The Poetry Process began with a word. Each person thought up one word that was a metaphor for themself. To give an example, mine was “suraj,” or sun; other individuals picked metaphors that ranged from “river and ocean” to “paintbrush.” Then we were divided into groups, and each group picked one metaphor. My group picked “the stars,” others picked metaphors such as “smile.”
Following this, each person did a five-minute free writing session about their group metaphor. We all picked three of our favorite sentences from the free write and combined them to create a poem for each group. Then, each group performed their poem using song, dance and props.
Throughout the training, the team came back together and reflected on the activities. People shared stories about their past, reflected on the activities in the present, and how we could use these activities to be better field workers and life skills trainers in the future. Participants left with both an increased awareness of themselves and a closer bond with each other. We are looking forward to Dream a Dream’s second round of training!
Today sees the launch of our 200 Pound Push specifically for all our supporters based in the United Kingdom. By raising only £200 on the UK GlobalGiving site, we will be able to launch Shaishav on its sister site in the United States. Helping us with this will spread the work of Shaishav to a far greater audience and provide our American supporters with a way to donate in dollars, avoiding expensive currency conversions.
Why £200? Our last eighteen months on globalgiving.co.uk have been highly successful, with our dedicated UK supporters raising nearly £3,000. Securing a permanent place on GlobalGiving in the UK was tough, as it required £2,000 to be raised in one month. Thanks to our dedicated supporters, we exceeded this aim, but the target for the American site is greater; the equivalent of US$5,000 must be raised on the UK site first before our project will be accepted on the American site. We are £200 short of this amount.
As well as helping us expand our reach in the United States, your donation will go directly towards improving the lives of children in Gujarat. With £200, we could educate 150 girls in topics sorely lacking in schools: equal rights, child marriage, wenlido self-defence and issues affecting pubescent girls. Together, we can build a more equal and tolerant society.
It is easy to donate a one-off or recurring sum of any amount to Shaishav, and you will then receive project reports every quarter to update you with our latest work and photos. It is also easy to set up a fundraiser profile on the site and link it to Shaishav. Let us suggest holding a Gujarati-themed charity meal for your friends and family!
Our UK page can be reached easily through the box on the right of this page or by visiting it directly.
Thank you for your generous help.
GlobalGiving evaluators Dan Sheridan and Hannah Sainsbury visited Shaishav in August and have written the following blog about our work…
GlobalGivingUK visits Shaishav By Dan Sheridan and Hannah Sainsbury – GlobalGivingUK Volunteers
Hannah Sainsbury and I have just finished our visit to the Bhavnagar headquarters of Shaishav on our whirlwind trip around Maharashtra and Gujarat. Shaishav was our third project to visit around this part of India as part of our work with GlobalGiving UK.
Shaishav’s aim to help kids from poorer backgrounds help themselves by educating them about their own rights as children and providing them with the support needed to succeed throughout life has been incredibly successful so far. This confidence and responsibility is installed through their youth groups, Balsena and Tarunsena, which the children take charge of with as little interference from Shaishav as possible. The impact of this is incredible to see as children as young as six debate with others over the organization’s policies. These rules and regulations are often more innovative than anything that I could have come up with, such as the membership fee which has been fractionally raised for all so as to allow children unable to afford it to join.
One of the first things we were shown was a Balsena council meeting in which representatives of each of the 52 Balsena groups dotted around the city, came together to discuss and debate current and future policies. This was an excellent showcase of the confidence these kids now have and of the respect they show for one another, as all the arguments were listened to before being decided upon by the Council. Our guide for the day was beaming with pride as she translated for us the arguments over the proposed increase in the amount that can be deposited in the Balsena bank.
The children wore their pink Balsena scarves with as much pride, each group having their own individual scarves with their group names emblazoned upon them. The kids warmly told us how they were learning plenty of new skills that would help them later on in life, such as computer and leadership skills, before asking Hannah and I some pretty probing questions on how GlobalGiving could help Shaishav and Balsena.
Equally as impressive were the many Tarunsena members we met. They had graduated from the Balsena group and were continuing to help out their communities through activities such as organizing Blasena meetings, social work and campaigning for better child rights. Many of these young adults are juggling their voluntary commitments with their studies, a great reflection of their commitment to Shaishav, their communities and the children they work with.
Throughout our visit, it became clear that the enthusiasm, experience and generosity of the staff are the foundation upon which these confident youngsters are able to excel. Over the years their passionate assistance and commitment has been the cornerstone upon which the remarkable developments within these children and their communities has been able to grow.
Volunteers Dan and Hannah from globalgiving.co.uk visited Bhavnagar this week to conduct an evaluation of Shaishav. The pair were given a tour of all our programmes, celebrating Friendship Day with the children by receiving origami models made by Balsena in return for a performance of English songs!
The purpose of the visit was to assess the ways in which GlobalGiving could support us, especially with fundraising and communications. Both Dan and Hannah were impressed with Shaishav, commenting that, ‘the success of your organisation is entirely down to your hard work – we can only see it growing’. They particularly praised how well the Shaishav team co-operate and complete tasks easily, with a big smile on their faces at all times!
In order for the organisation to grow, the volunteers emphasised the need for effective fundraising and communications strategies to increase our reach. We are in the process of making big strides in that direction. Our brand new communications officer has joined to keep our supporters around the world updated with our progress and spread the message of child participation as widely as possible.
GlobalGiving is an online fundraising platform that enables grassroots NGOs to raise funds from international donors online. It allows supporters to keep up to date with all of Shaishav’s news and photos via quarterly progress reports. Thanks to our dedicated supporters’ help, we have raised nearly £3,000 in the past eighteen months. If you wish to give to Shaishav or view our photos and reports, our GlobalGiving page can be reached easily through the box on the right of this page or by visiting our page directly.
We hope Dan and Hannah enjoyed their time with Shaishav, and we look forward to working with GlobalGiving further in the future.