Puberty is a sensitive stage which everyone experiences and it involves a large number of changes in a person, both physical and psychological. It is as essential for disabled children to be aware of this, as it is for anybody else.
Based on this, we have started working on ‘Disability and Sexuality’ and the work is towards bringing about a positive outlook both among parents and caregivers. Since last 3-4 years Tathapi is involved in an important project on the topic of sexuality and disability and is having a constant dialogue with parents, teachers and care givers of children with special needs.
Initially we have worked with blind adolescents and developed a set of resources called ‘Gosht Sharirachi... Manachi...’ The set includes an Audio CD, a Braille book and a guidebook for parents and teachers. Recently we developed a resource for the parents and teachers of the children with mental disability, called ‘Sharir Saksharta Sarvansathi’. The book was published in a state level meeting where many parents and teachers participated across the state, on 13th–14th February 2016. The workshop was organised to discuss the need of sexuality education for intellectually challenged children and also for the care givers.
Tathapi is organising regional trainings, in coming months, for parents, teachers and caregivers of the children with intellectual disability in collaboration with the local organisations, institutes and individuals who are working with children with special needs especially children with intellectual disabilities. Body Literacy, sexuality, gender, violence and sexual abuse against these children, safety and other life skills will be the topics covered in these trainings. We appeal interested persons and institutes and organisations to contact us if you think such training is useful for your staff and the parents. Please contact Prajakta Dhumal for further details – 020 2443 1106, 9527285796.
Since last two years, we are engaged in creating resources on disability and sexuality. The effort has driven us to explore the interconnections through real life experiences of people with disabilities, their parents and counsellors. The fellowship received from Smt Vimalabai (Jiji) Neelkanth Jatar Charitable Trust has enabled us to meet various groups across the state and explore these experiences.
we met parents, teacher and counsellors working with Janarth in Aurangabad. They shared experiences of girls and women from rural areas and underlined the need to discuss the interconnections. Prabodhini Trust in Nashik organised a meeting with parents of intellectually challenged children and adults. The meetings provided a space for parents to share their stresses, talk about difficulties and explore ideas for support.
Similar discussions are being planned in Satara, Kolhapur and Yavatmal in coming months. The discussions are giving us insights into the interconnections between sexuality and disability. It will go a long way in creating resources that are affirmative, sensitive to the needs around disability.
We will be happy to visit your organisation and meet parents, counsellors and those with disabilities and hold such discussions. Please contact us if you are working in the area of disability and are interested in holding such discussion in your area.
We, at Tathapi, have witnessed and read about thousands of cases of violence and abuse against women in society. The newspapers and television reports show us that every day the value for a human life, more importantly, that of a woman’s life, is rapidly decreasing. And this phenomenon is not one that has started recently. The blatant disregard for women’s feelings, autonomy and self- esteem is a norm in a society such as ours, where sex selection is still carried out, where one sex is preferred and lorded over the other.
Thus, we are launching a campaign, I सोच Let's talk Sexuality for a Safer Pune! I सोच wants to see and bring about a positive change in society. Today, college students, and even school children have a wider field of exposure, to elements in society that did not even exist a few years ago. We realize that the widespread and almost constant use of the Internet, whether for wholesome or harmful activities, is the medium that needs to be used to bring about a change in the current generation. The campaign aims to make Pune a safe place once again; make it the Pune that we all still remember. And the way to achieve that is empower the college students themselves to be a part of the change rather than a part of the problem.
There is a growing awareness among student about the deteriorating situation of our society today. There is an unconscious curbing of a woman’s right to freedom and expression under the guise of “protection” and “security”. College students themselves do not agree with most of the methods that are being adopted in society to cope with the rising rate of abuse and molestation; they find themselves in a position where they want to change the status quo but cannot find a way to do that.
I सोच will provide that platform to the students where they can stand up against discrimination and violence and join hands with other students from various parts of the city. We stand for open communication and dialogue rather than blind hatred and oppression. We imagine a city where there is equality and safety for all. And moreover, we imagine a society where the rights and opinions of every individual are cherished so that we can once again have respect for every life and every identity.