October 15, 2014

Arpan's work on Personal Safety Education featured in Global Fund For Children Blog

A Call to Action: GFC Celebrates the International Day of the Girl

    A girl never exists in a vacuum. Her community, family, friends, and environment all shape her life. That’s why, to support girls, The Global Fund for Children works with organizations that are rooted in the community and use innovative approaches to advance girls’ rights and well-being. Through our partnership, we help these grassroots organizations grow into thriving and sustainable community resources that can endure for generations.

    Last year, GFC invested $1.3 million in 81 organizations working to address the needs of girls in 31 countries around the world.

    The International Day of the Girl Child, established by the UN and celebrated each year on October 11, serves to highlight major issues and accomplishments in the field of girl’s rights. This year’s theme is “ending the cycle of violence.” Girls around the world confront many of the worst forms of violence, including genital mutilation, child marriage, and sexual abuse and exploitation. GFC supports grantee partners in every region of the world that are working to help the most marginalized girls and halt the cycle of violence.

    To honor the International Day of the Girl Child and to give a sense of the innovative, frontline efforts of GFC’s diverse group of grantee partners, we are highlighting two organizations working to ensure the safety and rights of girls in their home communities: Asociación Civil Defiende in Guatemala and Arpan in India.

    Asociación Civil Defiende’s educators facilitate a 
    workshop about self-esteem and feelings in a rural 
    elementary school in Guatemala.
    Asociación Civil Defiende, one of GFC’s newest grant partners, combats the sexual abuse of girls through a unique prevention program in local schools. Begun by Roberto Morales, a self-trained theater artist, the organization uses creative movement, puppetry, and theater to break the silence around the culturally taboo subject of sexual and gender-based violence in rural Mayan communities.

    Through Defiende’s workshops, children learn to assert their rights, understand and respect their bodies, and stand up for the rights of others. Defiende also works with school staff to ensure that schools are safe for both girls and boys and that teachers are equipped to respond in cases of abuse and violence.

    Arpan set up an interactive installation about safe
    and unsafe touches at the KalaGhoda Arts Festival.
    Arpan empowers children and communities with prevention and intervention skills to reduce instances of child sexual abuse for both girls and boys. Arpan is a leader in addressing child sexual abuse and was the first organization in Mumbai to offer personal safety education to children, teaching them about safe and unsafe touches and how to seek help.  

    Arpan also provides training to teachers, parents, and other NGOs on prevention and intervention. Founded by Pooja Taparia, who was motivated to create the organization by the magnitude of the issue and the unavailability of resources to address it, Arpan not only works to prevent abuse but also meets survivor needs. The organization provides psychosocial support, rehabilitative services, and safe spaces for children who have experienced abuse and works with schools to develop long-term plans to ensure the personal safety of students.

    The International Day of the Girl Child is an opportunity to recognize what has been achieved for girls around the world. It is also a call to action to address what remains to be done. GFC’s ability to support community-based organizations like Asociación Civil Defiende and Arpan depends directly on the engagement of our own community. Help GFC reach more of the world’s most marginalized girls by making a donation today.

    An Arpan educator leads a small group discussion during a
    Personal Safety Education workshop.

October 8, 2014

Arpan's study on mandatory reporting in the POCSO Act featured in Hindustan Times.

‘60% survivors of child sex abuse against reporting’

SOCIAL STIGMA Distrust of police handling the case is one of the major factors

MUMBAI: A majority of child sex abuse survivors are against mandatory reporting of abuse, which has been stipulated in the new legislation Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act (POCSOA) , revealed a recent study.

Close to 62.5% survivors interviewed for the study by Arpan, a city-based non-government group stated that they were not okay with mandatory reporting of abuse because of the social stigma. One of the clauses of the POCSOA, 2012, is ‘mandatory reporting of occurring and/ or apprehended sexual offences against children’ under Section 19, which makes failure to report punishable under Section 21 of the Act.

Surprisingly, out of the 64 respondents to the study, 40 were against mandatory reporting stating that their social environments were not sensitive enough for them to disclose abuse. “I’m a man, and it’s almost impossible to make anyone believe that I had been abused by another man,” stated one of the respondents. “I once told someone about my experience and she laughed and told me that I probably enjoyed it.”

Distrust in the manner with which the police would handle the case was also one of the major factors for survivors not wanting to report. “If I was eight or nine years old, and I knew my mother would report the matter to the police, I wouldn't know what ‘complaining to the police’ would lead to,” said another respondent.

Respondents also said that reporting without the consent of the survivor would shake the faith of the child in the trusted adult. “To have someone you confided in to do the same without one’s consent is worse,” wrote a respondent.

Only 24 survivors said that they agreed with the mandatory reporting clause.“If my abuse had been reported to the authorities at the time it was happening, it may have prevented the systematic abuse of other young girls,” said a respondent.

Shreya Sen, co-ordinator, research and development, Arpan who conducted the study said that the study was not aimed at discouraging mandatory reporting.

“The study only shows that  instead of just mandatory reporting, awareness and sensitization of responsible stakeholders needs to be done along with the need of safety education to be implemented,” she said.

October 1, 2014

ARPAN Annual Report 2013 - 2014

The seed of Arpan was planted way back in 2006. Since then, the journey of Arpan resembles the growth of the ‘Moso Bamboo tree’ which needs watering every day with no noticeable growth for some time. That does not dampen the spirit of the gardener and the watering of the plant continues. One day, it opens up, catches its first ray of sunshine and away it goes. Arpan’s story of growth has mirrored this. While the initial few years were about building a strong foundation, the last couple of years have seen amazing growth, taking Arpan to new heights. As much as this process has been organic, it would not have been possible without a focused, conscious and deliberate growth and a recognition that this transition is a trade-off between the present and the future. Allied with this, has been the realization that navigating this transition would mean to look at Arpan through a different lens as strategies that were promising for a small scale organization can hinder the growth and sustainability for a larger organization. With Arpan’s maxim, that ‘being better is more important than being bigger’ the continuous challenge has been to ensure that the growth does not jeopardize Arpan’s culture, significance of its beneficiaries, its people, its execution processes, and its quality and controls.

Arpan’s story of growth is as much a story of the organizations scale of work as well as growth in each of its clients as well as its team. Given the nature of intervention at times, growth can be momentary, transitory, intangible and not apparent. However, Arpan’s story is incomplete and futile without mapping the growth and change that happens in the life of its beneficiaries. This Annual Report 2013-14, will present the growth of individuals and their journey from being victims to survivors, from vulnerable children to empowered beings participating in their own safety, from unaware caregivers to endowed individuals creating a safety net. Integral to this journey is the growth of Arpan’s practitioners’ who evolve to become more empathetic and compassionate in their approach through their experience and interaction with beneficiaries and their lived realities.

Annual Report 2013 - 2014