India: A New Dialogue to Redress the Damage

Sr. Jessica D’Souza ASC

On 5 February, the animators of Navodaya Charitable Society (Adorers of the Blood of Christ) presented a wonderful and inspiring street play. The purpose was to uplift and empower the girl child’s education and women’s employment, especially the widows who become victims of society. The young widows suppress their feelings and are frustrated and helpless. Some are disoriented due to the sudden shock of the death of their husbands. A lot of injustice occurs to these women, and they remain enslaved to the family members of their husbands or relatives.

In some cases, the husbands are alcohol dependents that they earn and spend the entire amount lavishly eating and getting drunk. As they become alcoholics, they disturb the women and children in different ways. So automatically, the families are impoverished. Furthermore, to combat the evils of child marriage is the need of the hour as the girl child falls prey to the injustice done by the society, stopping their education as they reach puberty. During the Pandemic, most people in the villages have entered into child marriages.

After doing a systematic analysis of similar cases happening in the villages, Sr. Mini Vadakumcherry ASC brought out the street play plan; it is meant to conscientize the people on the importance of girls’ education and the harm to the family of alcoholism and drugs. The whole concept was well introduced to the villagers, and all those who were present, were happy and appreciated very much this way of our approach, to give them a good message and education on the evils of child marriage, evils, alcohol abuse, and the importance of literacy for the girl child. We could see openness and receptivity on the part of the villagers. All of us are creations of God. No one should be left up art but need to be cherished and cared for with love and respect.

We are in an era where children are the most vulnerable of all. On 27 February, Navodaya charitable society (Adorers of the Blood of Christ) tried to combat this issue of child marriage and child right, conducting Children’s Parliament. The member of the board of Juvenile Justice was the resource person for the day. It takes us immense joy that we could gather 90 children from seven different villages in Mysore, India. We concentrated on psycho-education, focusing on their rights and developing their confidence to stand for their conviction and raise their voice for their choice and opinions.

There were opportunities for the children to work in groups. Each group selected its leader, assistant leader, and spokesperson. We introduced the participatory style of leadership—the group work brought about various issues that children face in their villages and families. They don’t meet their basic needs. They don’t get their right to education. Adults are molesting and abusing them. The alcoholic parents force their children to purchase alcohol and cigarettes to make things worse. There are no facilities for sanitation for the girl child and the women in the villages. Hygiene, clean drinking water, and education are the important points highlighted. Children learned a lot and enjoyed the activities and games. We felt happy to listen to their profound sharing. It gave us insights into how we could help. Wisdom comes from the babes.