Friday, July 25, 2008

1st Comics Workshop (22nd May- 25th May, 2008)

The first series of comics workshop for the campaign was conducted by WCI in collaboration with GNK between 22nd May to 25 May, 2008.

As discussed and decided with prior interactions with coordinators from GNK, the ‘BBM’ (Babu Beheni Manch) formed an integral part of the workshops. Having an existing children’s forum such as the BBM in many villages, WCI found it simple to work on the issue.

The first workshop was designed for training the trainers in order for them to spread the message forward. These trainers would through the ripple effect train others through the medium of comics on the issue of corporal punishment. The first set of trainers was the members of the BBM. There were a total of 24 participants for the first workshop. These participants had their set notions and stereotypes regarding corporal punishment which WCI hoped to question.

The workshops were set off by a general introduction of the participants which further was facilitated into a discussion on the topic of Punishment and Gender discrimination. To start with, the WCI facilitators realized that 70% of the participants believed that some sort of punishment is required for disciplining the child. After sharing a few testimonials of children from the book ‘Spare the Rod’ and comics made by them, the discussions took a different form. The participants realized that punishment wasn’t the best method of disciplining and that other methods could be adopted. They agreed that in school some of their friends who had dropped out could have, because of severe punishments. After much deliberations and discussions, the participants were shown how with the help of cartoons, an awareness is gained on an issue that concerns the community. Films like ‘Apni Dikri Ro Haq’ and ‘Swear by the River’ were screened to elucidate the use of cartoons. These films led to the participants to involve the teachers and parents in the process of the discussion.

Gender as an interesting dimension pointed out by many for the issue of corporal punishment. The group (existing of teachers, parents and the children) said that there was no gender discrimination… as in schools Boys may get punished a lot more, but at homes Girls are punished to complete the household chores.

Eventually, the importance of comics, the use of A4 size paper, four frames to tell the story etc. were some of the many concepts explained, discussed and deliberated upon. While the participants made some comics themselves, the idea was how they could facilitate such learning to others.

Every BBM member would spread the word in their own Bal Samuh, ie; their children group’s actively working at various villages. The Bal Samuh members would further with the help of comics spread the word around to generate awareness amongst the whole community. This is the ripple effect that WCI follows. In the case of the BBM it would function like:

Details like naming the campaign ‘Chadi to Hathkadi’ (‘Handcuffs on the stick’), method of conducting workshops with members from the various Bal Samuhs, logistics of dates and stationary were all discussed and decided by the participants.

Now, the trained participants, ie; the new trainers were given the responsibility of spreading the word and generating awareness on the topic of corporal punishment. The next few workshops were organized at various different blocks and villages of the Maharajganj district.

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