Mumbai, 19 November: Windmill Festival, the first international festival dedicated for children up to the age of 11 was recently conducted at Reliance Jio Garden, BKC. The festival saw a variety of education, awareness and entertainment programs conducted for children and their parents alike.
The Windmill Festival is one of the few international festivals conducted in India that is solely dedicated to children. One of the highlights of the festival this year included a component on child sexual abuse awareness, organized by Arpan – An NGO that works towards on the issue of Child Sexual Abuse in the country. Arpan is actively involved in educating children, adolescents and adults to prevent Child Sexual Abuse through their Personal Safety Education programmes.
As part of the educational festivities organized at Windmill Festival, Arpan held an interactive quiz session on child safety which involved children and parents in a fun game of darts. The quiz was an opportunity for children and their caregivers to learn about child safety while also engaging in fun questions on sports, cartoons and geography. A book counter was also installed by volunteers of Arpan where literature on child sexual abuse was distributed to guests at the event. Guardians were also given reading material on the knowledge and vocabulary needed to understand the issue of Child Sexual Abuse along with information on legal interventions, personal safety educations, the impact of abuse on a child and the subsequent healing process in a simple format.
Pooja Taparia, Founder and Chief Executive of Arpan said, “We saw the Windmill Festival as a great opportunity to spread our message and educate parents and children on child sexual abuse in India and ways to protect themselves. According to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau, a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes in India. We are deeply involved in solving this issue and have so far connected with more than a million people through our initiatives. We have also started publishing books to make child sexual abuse prevention information easily available.”
Since our inception in 2006, Arpan has directly touched lives of over 200,000 children and adults through prevention, healing and training programmes. Through their partnerships, they have reached out to over 880,000 children and adults. Arpan has grown from a humble team of three members to a roster of over 100 individuals working dedicatedly towards the cause.
As the largest NGO addressing the phenomenon of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in the country, the team provides prevention and intervention services to children and adults. Arpan provides direct services to children, adolescents and adults to prevent Child Sexual Abuse and appropriately deal with disclosures of children and adolescents through our flagship programme – Personal Safety Education. This programme caters to children and adolescents in schools, communities, NGOs, and institutions.
Arpan also provides long-term psychotherapeutic support to adolescent girls and boys and adult survivors in shelter homes who have been sexually abused or trafficked and provides healing support to children and adult survivors of Child Sexual Abuse through Mental Health Services. Arpan develops age-appropriate and customised resources for relevant stakeholders and conducts training for stakeholders to incorporate Child Protection mechanisms in their environments through Training and Capacity Building initiatives. Arpan does policy advocacy to bring in systemic change that will appropriately respond to the child protection needs at the city, state and national level.