Prayas Institute of Juvenile Justice

Project Brief: Asha-Prayas Life Skills Workshop
Project Type: Vocational Training (description)
Primary Focus: vocational training (description)

Secondary Focus: girls

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Princeton
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Hansa Shah
Project Partner(s): Rohini Muthuswami
Other Contacts: Venkata Pingali
Project Address: , 59, Tughlakabad Institutional Area,,New Delhi,
DELHI  110 062
Tel: (11) 29955505, (11) 29956244
Stewarding Chapter: Princeton
Mar 2007PrincetonUSD 600

Total = $600

Asha Sanctuary in partnership with Prayas organized a workshop for teenaged boys and girls. The workshop was open to young adults in the age group of 15 and above, who are participating in vocational training classes or are looking to make the decision. The seed idea for the workshop came about at the Kolkata conference when participating organizations commented on limits to vocational training a single organization can provide. Additionally, teenagers often do not know what options are available, and exposure opportunities would go a long way to help them make informed decisions.

The objectives of the Delhi workshop were:

1: Exposure to vocational training modules and variations in training methods. If skill already exists, then ways to gain edge over competition.

2: Promote proactive resource sharing among NGO/govt agencies dealing with adolescent skills training.

3: Informal life skills discussion (a moderated discussion among themselves on flexible framework of topics)

Profile of participants: Around 40 teenagers participated from Prayas, Abhas, and from Navshrishti

These youngsters are taking vocational training and also attending schools. Many of them are enrolled with National Institute of Open School and will be taking either their 8th, 10th, or 12th class exam.

Asha Delhi volunteer Rohini Muthuswami lead the discussions with the host organizations and represented Asha for Education at the event.
A Below are excerpts of Rohini's notes from the event.

Day 1:

Session 1: Life skills

The morning session was devoted to life skill module which was very participatory. We talked about what are life skills, how we learn them, what makes a successful person- we talked about giving respect as well as self-respect, communication skills, assertiveness, how to be was probably a lot crammed into a short time. But as we gave them an overview of the workshop, we realized that many of them did not even know what vocational training was.

Session 2: Hands on vocational exposure:

The afternoon session was devoted to hands-on training on making greeting cards. They did this with ordinary paper and the workshop stretched to 4.30pm. By then the teenagers were tired. The instructor had bought stiff greeting card paper, but decided not to use that but instead to call it a day. Maybe we can do just another session another time for it.

Day 2:

Session 1: Life Skills

The presenter was Mr. Junaid Mirza who works with Abhas. He started with introductions but with a twist. Every one had to introduce themselves and then say one positive quality about themselves that starts with their initial. So introduced himself as Jolly Junaid. The class was stunned.

The first girl told him that she has no positive quality so how can she describe herself. He was relentless. ‘You have to describe yourself but I will give you time’, he said to her. He went on to the next girl who hesitantly said that she is always smiling and her name is Manju. He dubbed her as Muskurati Manju. He went down the row. By then the first girl got enough courage to say that she wins everyone's heart and that her name is Meenu. So he said she was Manmohati Meenu.

And so it went through the girls. Finally when everyone was done, he said that they will have to set the rules for the session. So the class started, again very hesistant:

1. Punctuality 2. Listening carefully 3. Respect everyone 4. We will try to follow whatever is taught in this class. 5. We will raise our hands if we have a question 6. We will not make fun of each other when they ask questions that might seem stupid. 7. We will cooperate with each other 8. We will try to achieve the goals for this class. 9. Finally, we will maintain confidentiality if anyone shares with us, in this class, something that happened to them.

After this he talked what are life skills and the 10 life skills that WHO has defined: 1. Self-awareness; 2. Empathy; 3. Effective communication; 4. Decision making; 5. Creative thinking; 6. Critical thinking; 7. Problem solving skills; 8. Interpersonal relationship; 9. Coping with stress; 10 Coping with emotions.

As he went through each, he used examples that the girls would be familiar with. Like situation in the house. Their brother might be married and the relationship that they might have with their bhabhi. He touched upon the fact that girls have to make the maximum decisions in life but they never have control over it. And how through these life skills they can attempt to get some control over it. He talked about sexual harassment they might face from people they know- for example he might be a person from their bhabhi's village who is now staying with them and he is touching them inappropriately. What should they do then? One of the boys said, that the girl should give him one hard slap. Which, he said was right, but what happens if the bhabhi comes to know of it? What if she tells it her husband, the girl's brother? How to deal with the situation?

At the end of this part, he asked them to write down three of the life skills they use in their life on a daily basis, and three life skills that they do not use. Almost everyone said they use decision making everyday. Many said that they never used Self-awareness and coping with emotions.

The next part started with story telling. He told two fables: The crow and the pitcher; and the monkey and the crocodile. After the end of each of the story, he asked them to list which of the life skill technique was used in that story.

The class was having problems with understanding few concepts like Empathy. So he said that they will enact short plays. he called for volunteers but no one was ready to come forward. He cajoled them by saying that only those people volunteer who are brave. Four girls stood up and they were given a situation to enact. This was to demonstrate empathy. The situation was that the girl had failed in her exam and she tells her sister. There are different ways in which the sister reacts. The class was asked which was the best way? Then the girls who were enacting the part of having failed were asked how they felt in each situation.

Finally, he talked about how can we communicate more effectively (concentrative listening, empathy, honesty, understanding, and consoling). Again at the end he called for volunteers to enact situations. This time the response was just amazing! There were more volunteers than needed.

He also talked for few minutes how to react when pressure is being put on you. For example, the boys might be under peer-pressure from others to smoke. The girl might be friendly with a boy who might pressure her to come to the cinema alone with him, and this might be a trap. So he taught them how to avoid such situations.

The class enjoyed this session much more than yesterday and told him so. At the end of the class, there was a spontaneous ovation from them.

Session 2: Hands on vocational exposure:

This session focused on “hands- on training session on electricity and handling of simple equipments in day to day scenario”.

This session included hands on work wiring a lamp, changing light bulbs and changing a fuse. Along with doing this, discussions were held about conservation of energy, kinds of light bulbs etc. Safety and care in the use of electrical appliances was discussed.

The workshop was, overall, successful from the young adults point of view. We will keep building on the idea and in the process encourage greater sharing across organizations. Exposure to alternative ideas and ways of thinking is key for the youth to encourage them to be creative and resourceful in solving their day to day problems. It is important for them to realize what is within their capacity and through that gain greater control over their lives.
Rajib K. Haldar
Executive Director