Thursday, July 24, 2008

Workshops by our new Trainers (27th May - 29th May,2008)

The campaign reached to an interesting phase after the first workshop was over. Now it was the new trainers turn to run comics workshop in their respective villages. 21 participants were now to embark on their journey of spreading the message of corporal punishment.

On 26th May everyone returned their villages and spread the message about the forthcoming workshop in their BBM.
WCI team invited its trainers from different part of the country to support the BBM team in these workshops.
Jharkhand: Sunder Mohan and Lakhindra Nayak.
Rajasthan: Manish Singh, Suresh Jaipal and Rajpal.
Orissa: Nandeshu
Uttarakhand: Monika, Udit and Davendra
Uttar Pradesh: Dimple, and
Delhi: Suhail, a development communication student who helped in video documentation.

The villages that were to be covered in the Maharajganj district were:
1) Ganvaria
2) Sundi
3) Hardi Dali
4) Dharora
5) Nonia
6) Jaswal
7) Achalgarh
8) Pokharwa
2 villages Achalgarh and Pokharwa were in the Laxmipur block while rest were in Ratanpur Block.

At the Ganvaria village, there were 16 participants present from their Bal Samuh on day one of the workshop. Sashipriya and Rajni from the BBM, trained and facilitated the comics workshop with Monika who was present for observations and overall support. The resource persons complained that few participants were too young so they divided into groups and adopted different methodologies for each group.

At the Sundi village, 20 BBM members participated on day one. Ghanshyam (BBM member) arranged the group of participants quite well with Nandeshu present for any needed help. The workshop went quite well with members converting maximum stories into visuals and into the format of comics. The process of members sharing their personal testimonials on their experiences of punishments in school and at home was well facilitated and tapped by the Ghanshyam a new trainer for comics workshops.

At the Hardi Dali village, one of the trainers, Sanjay offered his home as a venue for the workshop as there was no other space available to run the workshop. On the second day of workshop, a total of 9 participants were present with all the previously present girls absent. Since Sanjay had to leave for another program, the venue of the workshop shifted. It eventually gained momentum with 4-5 participants and the help of BBM members like Ramprasad and Sushil.

At the Dharora village, two BBM members, Santoshi and Saraswati organized the workshop in the only available space, a veranda. With Santoshi’s good orientation skills and Saraswati’s one to one interaction many comics were finalized on the issue of corporal punishment on last day of the workshop.

At the Nonia village, the trainers were inspected at the Border checkpost making it an adventurous journey for the new young trainers of the BBM. The workshop had a total of 35 participants including women and youth and was well organized at an Aganwadi. On day two there were setbacks of absenteeism at the workshops which left the trainer heartbroken. But was soon supported by Manish (WCI team), who went house to house convincing people to send their children to workshop.

When the team went to participants’ home and showed these comics to their parents, they were amazed to see the story’s output.

At the Jaswal village, trainers had to cross a river by foot. Udit arranged one veranda to organize the workshop which was attended by 15 participants. One small girl named Jaya Pandey refused to take part in this workshop as she said she is here at uncle’s place for vacation not for training, but finally she got tempted to join the group and drew few comics herself. The workshop went well with a final of 12 participants working on their final work.

At the Achalgarh village, Suresh and Rajpal (WCI team) commuted by train to conduct the comics workshops at the village. Since two villages were in the Laxmipur block, traveling took up a lot of the time. The workshops followed a smooth process and went well.

The Pokharwa village along with Achalgarh village was extremely far, as the trainers themselves were physically drained out and complained of the distances. Smita and Sudhir Choudhary (BBM members) the local trainers were finding it difficult to convince people for participating in the comics workshop. This limitation was soon overcome by Rajpal (WCI team) who went house to house and arranged for participants for the workshop. It was conducted under a tree due to lack of space.

At the end of third day there were a mix of reactions from the trainers, few were satisfied with their work while few complained about the high drop out rate of the participants. Next month (in June) a follow up workshop will be organized for the same group; here everyone will get a chance to share their experiences as well as problems they faced.

Overall, it was a new experience for WCI trainers to work in a culturally diverse culture and a challenging new environment. They were also excited to have a new experience by crossing the Indian border for the first time and visiting Nepal.

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