Gosht Shareerachee Manachee (Story of our Body and Mind) : A resource on Body Literacy for the Visually Challenged

Last year we received a 15 month fellowship from Smt. Vimalabai (Jiji) Neelkant Jatar Charitable Trust to develop a resource on body literacy for special needs. To gain an understanding into the work of existing organisations in the field of disability and whether they include sexuality education or issues around sexuality in their work, we conducted an initial survey of organisations working in the field of disability. A semi structured questionnaire was sent to more than 50 organisations in Pune and around. Through personal visits and meetings we discussed experiences and opinions on issues of sexuality and disability.

This year, we have chosen to work with visually challenged children and their parents. After an initial meeting with teachers and counsellors and meetings with girls and boys from Blind schools in Pune we began our work on the set of resources on body literacy for the visually challenged children. The resource is based on our books, Body Literacy for Children (Part 1, 2 and 3)
It includes:
a.    Set of 15 audio session on body, gender, growing up, friendship and abuse, etc 
b.    A 180 page book in Braille
c.    A guide for parents and teachers on how to use the resource

Audio Sessions Audio Session
After field testing the draft chapters first with visually challenged students from the Fergusson College and then with a group of girls and boys from the Blind schools in Pune we recorded a set of 15 audio sessions. We made sure that our visually impaired friends from the Fergusson Collge and the Blind School lent their voices for the recording. We are also grateful to our other friends who volunteered for the activity, not to forget the girls from Jagruti Blind School in Alandi who helped us review the recorded sessions. 

Gosht Shareerachi Manachee The Braille book

The book contains chapters on Body, Gender, Growing Up, Sexuality, Love and Relationships and Staying Safe. It captures the essence of body literacy through various stories, notes and dialogues. The Braille printing and binding is handled by visually impaired field workers of Niwant, Pune.

A guide for parents and teachers on how to use the resource

This guide helps teachers, parents and other facilitators to introduce the topics to theeir students or children using the Audio CD and also the Braille book. It also provides basic information on causes and care of blindness as well as support organisations and schemes for disabled.

The way Ahead

Working with the visually challenged children has been an exciting process and we are entering into a new phase of this work. We are thankful to Major General SCN Jatar for supporting our idea of working with blind schools and implementing the curriculum. In 2014-15 we will be working with four blind schools in and around Pune. We will also take this initiative to the field of intellectual disabilities. We will work with children, parents and counsellors along with the institutions for the intellectually challenged children and create a similar resource on Body Literacy.