Sunday, October 12, 2014

DAV School joins Nada India campaign drug free school: Child'Right

It was heartening  to find the Principal and the teachers of the school open to ideas and their sincerity of purpose. The initial discussions between the principal  revealed that there was meeting of minds on the ground realities of the social dynamics reflected in the frictions that are evident in filial relations and the relations between the students, their parents  and the school authorities.Our deliberations with the principal focused on the problems of lifestyles which have resulted  in  tolerance if not acceptance of alcohol, alien to traditional families,  as part of the new habits, domestic discord, lack of parental control, influence of  the new media lack of proper communication at home etc.

 These maladies are further accentuated by  the negative impact of the exposure to the  influence of celebrity culture and lifestyles , peer pressure and unobstructed access to ideas and substances. The situation indeed is alarming and early intervention by the school and professionals from the field of psycho-social professionals and relationship counselors. 
Prof. TK Thomas along with Mr.Vatsyayayn conducting workshop at DAV School 
The NADA INDIA initiative is designed to address some of the problems that cropped up in our discussion with the Principal. As the first step we had a long session with   sociology students of the school who could be trained to become volunteers and as a  peer support  resource in the school to initiate a sustained campaign for a DAT [ Drugs/ Alcohol, Tobacco ] free school and families. We are conscious that this is a daunting task and would need the wholehearted cooperation, support and participation of all stake holders,viz. teachers, students and parents. 

We adopted an informal, participatory student centered approach which we felt crated a rapport between us and the students who appeared interested, enthusiastic and involved  setting an ideal backdrop to a productive initiative.  After ''Fun with Figures', a session meant to instill a spirit of inquiry in them, basic facts about tobacco through a tongue in cheek song was introduced. At the end of that all of them could recall 'Dhumrapaan ke Fayade' ,the benefits of smoking!  The story of a smoker was also well received. 

School counselor Ms.Gurjeet talking about drug prevention 

Preparing a bill board on Drug free school

The participants were given a questionnaire to respond by just ticking yes or no in the hand out 'Who am   I ? The responses during an interactive session facilitated the inputs on idenity,  child rights, the uniqueness of being a juvenile,addiction issues etc. 

They were also asked to answer five questions to answer which revealed that a majority of them are quite positive about handling their personal concerns and problems.
One of the major issues was on the problems related to alcohol consumption at home. The students opined that  children affected by the problem at home tend to live on the edge and become, lonely, anxious, disinterested in life in general and   scholastic activities in particular. This the resource person affirmed that such children have a marginalized existence. The thrust of the proposed campaign is to bring the marginalized to the center  stage where ever necessary. 

The responses to the five questions reveal that there is need for a support system that students can look up to. An empowered group of students with necessary information inputs and interpersonal skills could actually work as this support system for marginalized children.The concept of peer support could be a great help.
The day's programme ended with a request to the participants to draw, paint, write on issues about DAT. 

The feedback from the participants was encouraging. 

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