Child Group Story
Our Local Program Leader Andika Pun has started her first Child Group in Shale Dhamelikuwa, Lamjung. Children of WAWCAS mothers meet every second Saturday and play games, sing and dance, and discuss rights of children – and many other activities.
Review of the latest issued-based-training on financial literacy.
I learned through interactions with parents and home visits that the children have been actively implementing the action plans formulated in our last meeting. They started doing saving by using their piggy banks, demonstrating a positive shift in their financial habits. There is a noticeable change in their consumption behavior, with a conscious effort to reduce spending on unnecessary items and refrain from indulging in junk food.
During this session, we decided to focus on SWOT training, centered around issue-based discussions. Prior to delving into the topic, I inquired about the children’s familiarity with SWOT. While some children had a basic understanding, others were entirely unaware. To make the learning process engaging, I introduced a game called “Mobilization of resources”. The children were instructed to create circles and, upon my command, run and touch a specific color with any part of their body. After playing many rounds, I asked them to touch the color white with their tongue. However, instead of touching their teeth with their tongues, the children ran around searching for the color white outside of themselves. Which lead to a realization that their focus had shifted externally rather than recognize the resources within themselves.
Eventually, I asked them how they felt during the game. They shared that they rarely think of what they have with themselves. They realized that they have so many resources within themselves. I encouraged them to conduct their individual SWOT analysis. They wrote down their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats separately. I told them to add their strong points, change your week points into strong points, grab the opportunities, and cut out all the threats. I guided them to integrate their strengths, transform weaknesses into strengths, seize opportunities, and mitigate potential threats.
At the end of the day, the children formulated action plans, intending to reinforce their strengths, address identified weaknesses. Home visits will be conducted to monitor their progress and provide support as needed.
During a discussion on the previous topic of nutrition, I informed the parents about the progress of their children after taking a session with us. I also conducted a home visit to discuss it further with them. The parents seemed very happy and grateful towards us as they noticed positive changes in their children. After the session, the children started to eat all kinds of vegetables and began taking homemade food on their school lunch. Additionally, a significant change in the children was that they encouraged all the family members to have three types of food.
During our session, we talked about financial literacy, as I learned from the situational analysis that children do not have the habit of saving money. So, I wanted to focus on this topic. Before diving into the topic, I asked the children if they had any knowledge about finances. They mentioned that they earn money from different festivals and receive tikka and money from elders. However, they give their money to their parents, and they are unaware of where their parents utilize their money. Some children save their money in their piggy bank, while others waste their money buying junk food, toys, and other things.
After listening to the children, I suggested different ways to save money, such as saving the money that they usually spend on buying lunch. I advised them to stop using their money on junk food and unnecessary toys because it can lead to various health problems. I recommended that they should ask their parents to buy them a piggy bank to start saving their money. However, it’s better to open a bank account to save money and earn interest. They can save a small amount of money regularly and invest it in shares or businesses. They can use their savings to purchase things they need, such as stationery or school bags. They can also buy a chicken and raise it to produce eggs, which they can eat or sell. Lastly, they can use their savings to cover their future education expenses.
As an action plan, the children agreed to start saving their money and ask their parents to open a bank account for them. They also decided to stop wasting their money on unnecessary toys and junk food. I will monitor their progress during the next home visit and talk to their parents as well.
After the recent issue-based training session on time management, the children have been improving daily and are doing well with daily routines and taking them seriously.
For the upcoming issued-based training session, the topic chosen is nutrition. This decision was made because it has been observed that most of the children are consuming junk food and not having a balanced diet consisting of 3 types of food.
Prior to commencing the session, I enquired with all the children about their dietary intake in the past 24 hours. Most of them mentioned rice, dal and some vegetables. Based on their responses, it was evident that the children weren’t receiving adequate nutrition. I explained to them that the food they were consuming was insufficient for their bodies and that they should consume a balanced diet throughout the year instead of eating seasonally. For instance, if the bean season starts, they should not limit themselves to just beans but also consume other nutritious foods. I inquired about the children’s understanding of nutrients and, based on their responses, provided an explanation about nutrition. We talked about the fact that there are three types of food: energy-giving food (such as bananas, sweet potatoes, rice, maize, sugar, potato, millet, buckwheat, oil, etc.), body-building foods (such as meat, dairy products, all kinds of beans, fish, egg etc.), and foods that protect us from diseases (such as mango, papaya, tomato, broccoli, vegetables, fruits, citrus, green vegetables). Concerningly, many children eat junk food at school. I explained its negative effects and the potential diseases it can cause. I encouraged all children to make a change in their eating habits. The body requires 20% of protein to function, and it produces 12% of this protein itself. The remaining 8% must come from the food we eat. If we fail to obtain this 8%, the 12% provided by the body will be lost. Therefore, it is crucial that we eat a balanced, nutritious diet and avoid junk food.
To assess understanding, I suggested we played a game. When I asked if they were interested, they all responded eagerly with a resounding “Yes!” I then divided them into three groups: the first group focused on energy, the second on bodybuilding, and the third on protection from disease. I placed all the cards with pictures of food on the floor and instructed them to pick up the cards that matched their group. It was a fun game that helped recall what they learned.
Finally, the children discussed local food availability and seasonal changes, pledging to do their best to eat at least three different types of food and to refrain from eating junk food. I will discuss this further with their parents during the next home visits.
Reviewing the last issued-based training session focused on sanitation. During the home visits about sanitation, children shared everything they had learned in the session with their family members and urged their loved ones to incorporate these practices into their daily lives. They began to make changes in their daily routines. I observed improved hygiene among the children and cleaner households compared to before. They started taking care of their personal hygiene, household cleanliness, and environmental hygiene. They set up two types of bins in their homes, one for biodegradable waste and another for non-biodegradable waste. Moreover, they are planning to participate in their village’s environmental cleanup program during the upcoming “Dashain” festival vacation. Their parents remain as appreciative as before, expressing gratitude towards me and requesting regular classes for their children. Witnessing the positive transformations in my group of children and the parent’s response fill me great satisfaction and joy.
Noticing that most of the time the children in my group were engaged in play while their parents were being occupied with their own tasks, I decided to conduct the next class on the topic of time management.
Before delving into the subject, I posed a question to all the children: “What is the one equal resource that nature has provided us all?” In response, each child provided different answers based on their reasoning, but none of them thought about time. Perceiving their confusion, they turned to me for an answer. I explained, “Time is the equal resource that nature has granted to all of us”. Upon hearing this, they all grasped the concept and seemed satisfied. I then posed another question: “What roles have we been playing so far?” Once again, everyone gave varying responses. After hearing each child, I prompted them to consider the connection between time and these roles. In response, the children shared their opinions. I emphasized that each of us has distinct roles within our families, and it is our responsibility to fulfill these roles accordingly. We cannot juggle different roles simultaneously. Therefore, we must manage our time for every relationship we have. I stressed the importance of communication, urging them to talk to relevant individuals and discuss problems. I emphasized the need to share both the positive and negative aspects of our lives and our future aspirations with our parents; only the can we strengthen our bonds further.
Reviewing the last topic about Child Rights, children have made changes. During the follow up home visit on Child Right, children excitingly shared with me what they learned in previous IBT (Issue Based Training) session and how they have shared with their family and friends. Even their parents said that their children have started to help them in the household, some have started to follow the daily study routines they made and some that they are showing increased obedience and responsibility. The parents expressed their gratitude towards us, as they were glad seeing a change in their children. Personally, I had a good feeling as these changes were in line with the commitments they had outlined while making their action plan. I feel proud that children from my group are taking their words and converting them into action.
Due to the widespread of Malaria, Lymphatic Filariasis and other communicable diseases in the community, we collectively decided to conduct our second IBT session on Sanitation. This choice was made as many of these diseases are caused due to improper sanitation.
Before getting into the topic, I asked children what they already knew about sanitation. They shared their knowledge based on previous experiences and what they had learned from their homes, communities, and schools. After listening to their inputs, I explained that sanitation is taking care of hygiene and cleanliness of not only ourselves but also the environment; it’s about understanding the inter relations and affects. Although they had heard the term “sanitation” before, but when I explained its importance in detail, they told me that they now realize it is a very serious issue, needing their attention. We also discussed about various communicable and non-communicable diseases, how they are they transmitted from one person to another, and the preventive measures against these diseases.
The children shared with me that they had taken lightly on sanitation. But after the IBT, they realized that it is extremely important, especially because of the diseases spreading in their community. Not just malaria and lymphatic filariasis, but also in the context of the global COVID-19 outbreak, which has affected the entire world and might have been reduced with proper sanitation.
We also had a conversation about taking care of our personal hygiene, in-house hygiene, and environmental hygiene. I focused on management of different waste product of our household. Biodegradable wastes, such as food scraps and paper can easily be decomposed and turned into compost manure. Non-biodegradable wastes like plastics and glasses which takes thousands of years to decomposed can be buried under a ditch. The key message the children took away was that all types of waste harm the environment and all forms of life that depend on the Earth. It also reflects how seriously we take our responsibility.
It was now time for the moment the children had been waiting for: The GAME. We played a game, which energized the environment. After the game, we reviewed our discussion. The children said that they had appreciated the opportunity to learn about sanitation in detail and understand it’s importance.
The children said that they would take the learnings seriously and made a commitment make it a change in their lives. Furthermore, they made their individual action plan for maintaining personal hygiene, proper waste management and to share this information with their friends. I will monitor their progress during my next home visit.
The children were excited for the today’s meeting because I told them that we would have class on a specific topic so they arrived before me at the location of our meeting. This was the 1st session with children on the topic child rights.
I asked the children “What do you know about child rights?” Half of the children were aware of the topic and half of the children were confused. It is really sad to know, that there are so many children who are unaware of child rights.
Everyone needs to realize their rights. I made them clear about child right. Every child has the right to name and birth registration along with their identity. Every child shall have the right to education, health, proper care, sports, entertainment, and overall personality development from the families and state.
Then I asked them “Have you got all your rights?”, “Did you ever realize, or recognize your rights and responsibilities?” Most of the children were aware of this and had all the rights. However, some of the children were unaware because of the poor economic condition of their families. They don’t have the proper maintenance and time from their parents.
In addition, I told them that they should not expect everything from your parents: It is your responsibility and obligation towards your parents. To love and respect them. Obeying your parents. Protecting and taking care of them. Asking for parents’ permission and blessing. Helping parents work. Keeping the good name and child’s mandate of parents. Coming immediately when your parents call. Just like parents towards us, we as children must also pray for the good of the world and hereafter. You can pray for the health and overall matter of your parents, and ask for protection at every step.
If we want to protect the next generation, we have to think about the children’s rights.
In conclusion, I told them to make their own action plan. And I informed them that I will come to see them at their home and see how they are doing in their family. Also, I will talk to their parents.
They were all excited to welcome me in their house and ready to work as per their action plan. Also for the next session.
This Child Group is located in Shale Dhamelikuwa. It was my 1st meeting with the children. Altogether 25 children were present in this 1st meeting. We began with an introduction but most of the children knew about us allready and they were saying our names in loud voices: “We know you! You are our mom’s trainer, right? Are you also going to teach us ?” They know about our organization and program and they also know the objectives of our program through their moms. This makes us feel proud as LPLs. They share how they feel when their mother joins the WAWCAS Group and what their mothers share about WAWCAS with them. They were excited to join the WAWCAS Child Group.
I asked them how they learnt of today’s meeting and most of the children got to know through their mothers. Some of the children said they had invited friends because we teach new topics and new games. The friends just want to learn together. Some of the friends were missing but the children asked me to please give them a chance to be with us in the next meeting. I asked them to explain all we discussed to their absent friends as well as with their family members.
I told the children about the objectives of our program and what a Child Group is in detail. After listening to everything, they were so excited about the next meeting. And they were requesting me to conduct a class for them on their every holiday. This is of course impossible for us to conduct meetings on all holidays, but I promised them that I will call a meeting with them as much as possible.
I asked them what kind of name will be good for our group. They were saying so many names, but I wasn’t satisfied. Then I asked them how they would feel if we named our group “we all are one”, and they all agreed with me. I proposed this name because some of the children were feeling shy and nervous just to do the introduction. And some of the children were bullying other children. Therefore, just to make them feel well I explained that we all are one and we are equal. When some children are bullying other children, I told them that we will discuss their right to protection/safety. They have a right to a protected childhood and in this bullying is clearly prohibited. But we will discuss this in detail next time. All of them seem anxious.
In addition, they were requesting me to play games with them, as we do different games with their mothers. Some of the children already practiced the games with their mothers and some of the children shared stories which we have shared with their mothers. I asked them what their expectations were, and they came here to learn new things, different types of games, quiz, handwriting, and awareness of the program as well. So, we decided to discuss this in detail at the next meeting.
In conclusion, the children participated so actively in this 1st meeting. The meeting went very effectively. The children were very excited to share today’s activities with their families and friends and they were looking so much forward to the next meeting.
From my side, I am overwhelmed to see the enthusiasm among the children. Especially I am so satisfied to know, how the women share everything they learned in training with their families. Now I will try to give as much time as I can to the children.