BB Action Projects in India
Update on all the action in India…
Beyond Borders India in its first phase has worked on four action projects:
1. Democracy: This group has conducted workshops exploring the theme of democracy with two schools in Delhi and is planning on doing the same with other schools in January 2006. The workshop consists of seven modules: evolving a definition of democracy, its merits and limitations, threats to democracy, with particular reference to Censorship and Communalism (relevant films on the theme are screened during this module followed by a discussion) and tools to combat these threats to democracy. The workshop ends with one such tool — a Right To Information exercise in the school by facilitating a dialogue between the school authorities and students.
The tools of communication used by the facilitators in these workshops
are: games, fun exercises, drawing, sketching and interactive discussions…in a non class room type set-up!
2. Female Foeticide: With the motto of ‘Empower HER to protect her’, this project aims at sensitizing young people towards the grave problem of sex selective abortion and the ruthless breach of ethical codes that it involves. The group has put together a short film and a brochure that highlight the gravity of the threat of a skewed sex ratio, exposing myths such as that female foeticide only happens in poor and illiterate families and not amongst educated people etc. Akanksha Datta explains the strategy of the action project, “We hold interactive sessions including games, presentations, debates and questionnaires. Through these sessions we hope to bridge the knowledge-gaps of our peers. However, it’s not just a one- way process; we too gain a lot for the ‘research and documentation’ module of our project, through the insight we gain into our peers’ existing standards of awareness.’ The group has worked with college students in Delhi, have received excellent feedback for their sessions and requests for conducting more workshops from Delhi colleges. They are now planning to deal with ‘female foeticide’ under the larger theme of crimes against women.
3. Sex Education: The group has conducted workshops on sex education (facilitating a discussion on sexuality and helping participants get rid of their inhibitions) with a college in Delhi University. They are now working on developing communication material for spreading awareness on sexual health and HIV/AIDS.
4. Life Skills: This action project aims to work towards providing holistic education to children which builds their skills and empowers them to think differently. Their workshops aim to work at three levels: individual growth (workshops aimed at conflict resolution, confidence building and various other methods of personal growth and introspection), growth of the group (sessions such as team and trust building which help in getting the group together), placing the group in the larger context of the world around them (by discussions and various tools like theatre, the group is sensitized to the issues around them such as environment and sustainable development). The group also helps children formulate an action project on any issue they feel strongly about. The group has successfully facilitated workshops with Arya Orphanage, Daryaganj and Jamghat, a street children’s shelter, and has been conducting workshops on life skills with members of the British Council children’s library in an attempt towards raising funds for their project.
5. Theatre and Band: The theatre group staged a play as a part of the publicity efforts for the Beyond Borders (BB) Festival and also staged the play to introduce Beyond Borders at the Festival. The group has now decided to take up theatre as an action project. Brainstorming on the project is still on, some of the suggestions that have come up are: working on a production about one or more of the BB action projects and using it for skills building and for initiating a dialogue around these themes. Also, the idea of having an internal music band originated from the post-festival meeting where we realized that we need to reach out to more people and promote the entire concept of Beyond Borders and a music band would serve as an effective medium of doing so. The music band is as of now in its nascent stage and is expected to start off by May 2006.
6. Beyond Borders India Film: Beyond Borders India has also produced a film that will be screened at various country festivals and other fora to spark off discussion on young people’s initiatives in general and BB in particular. The film on Beyond Borders is intended to be a process-oriented film where some of the members of Beyond Borders India have been a part of the entire film-making process from scripting, shooting, to the final stages of editing. The film deals with the concept of bringing about a change either in oneself or in the world around us. This BB film tries to look at the BB programme with respect to the other young people’s initiatives around. With the aim of bringing out the energy and dynamism of young people across the globe, this film tries to explore what makes them dream big and chase their dreams of making the world a better place. This film has four voices which give a view of the world through the perspective of a BB member.