13 Apr 2015

CHILDLINEs little star’ KOMAL’ in 15 languages

KOMAL’ is India's foremost film that elucidates how child sexual abuse happens and what to do about it. The 10 minute film is targeted at children in 6-12 age group and their parents/teachers. Using a story in animation format, the 10 minute film depicts the process of targeting, grooming of the child by the adult offender, the abuse, the feelings of guilt and confusion in the minds of the child victim, the dilemma in the minds of parents. The second half of the film covers training on safe/unsafe touch and personal safety rules.

India has the dubious distinction of having the world’s largest number of sexually abused children. A study by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in 2007 showed that 53 % of the children reported having faced some form of sexual abuse and proved that boys were as vulnerable to abuse as girls. CHILDLINE found that though 53 per cent of Indian children experience sexual abuse, the reporting is extremely low. CIF’s own research showed that by and large parents do not have the vocabulary to sensitise their own children on Child Sexual Abuse and also thinks it will never happen to their children.  This has prompted CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) to act, as the need of the hour is prevention, sensitising and empowering of children against Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) for the community i.e children, parents and schools.

CHILDLINE has been in the forefront in combating the issue of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). Though CIF plays an important role in all three, the 1098 service is more geared towards Intervention and Rehabilitation. Specifically in the case of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Prevention becomes the most important pillar, because if the case reaches the intervention stage where the child has been abused the damage is already done. From receiving calls, conducting interventions, advocating at the local & national level to introducing a stand-alone programme on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) awareness in schools, CHILDLINE works relentlessly to empower children with personal safety measures.

The work done by CHILDLINE for CSA was also featured on the first season of ‘Satyamev Jayate’ by Aamir Khan. Subsequently the funding support from Viewers of Satyamev Jayate and Reliance Foundation made the release India’s first CSA dedicated animation film ‘Komal’ in 15 languages – English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Punjabi, Urdu, Kashmiri, Konkani, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada.

The ‘KOMAL’- film aims to reach out to the children in schools and communities on the issue of child sexual abuse.  Komal is a bright, sensitive and happy 7 year old girl. Her new neighbour - Mr. Bakshi, who moved in with his wife, is her father’s old friend. Komal bonds with the affable Mr. Bakshi with whom she has a whale of a time. Until, Komal discovers Mr. Bakshi’s bitter reality. In the movie, CHILDLINE Didi explains to children the concept of Safe and Unsafe touch.

Unfortunately not many adults are open to talk about the difference between ‘Safe Touch and Unsafe Touch’ with their children. A common but rarely talked-about scourge of society the sexual abuse of children is often neglected and ignored by most adults. Additionally many fail to realize that children are abused often by those they place their trust upon. To prevent such an incident, CHILDLINE developed ‘Komal’. The film is now being shown in various schools and children’s groups so as to sensitize children in a calm and composed approach. ‘Komal’ aims to spread awareness among parents, teachers and other care givers as well as to engage the community to empower children to differentiate between a good touch and a bad touch.

Komal a bright, sensitive and happy 7 year old girl. Her new neighbour - Mr. Bakshi, who moved in with his wife, is her father’s old friend. Komal bonds with the affable Mr. Bakshi with whom she has a whale of a time. Until, Komal discovers Mr. Bakshi’s bitter reality. In the movie, CHILDLINE Didi explains to children the concept of Safe and Unsafe touch, so that they can be better equipped to protect themselves and take help from trusted adults if ever caught in a similar situation. 

Conceptualised by the Communication and Strategic Initiatives team at CIF and created by Director, Kireet Khurana and his team at Climb Media, ‘Komal’ has become a nation-wide phenomenon, reaching out to more people every day across shores. With over 2.5 million views on YouTube, a viral on WhatsApp and lakhs of shares on Facebook, this 10-minute film in a short span of time has made a positive impact on many. Requests have also been pouring in from different countries like Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tibet,  Middle East and more to make ‘Komal’ in international languages as well so that children all over the world can benefit.

‘KOMAL’ has been released in 15 languages- English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Konkani, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Odiya, Bengali, Assamese, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Urdu.

CIF would shortly release 45 'accessible' versions- for each of 15 languages which include: Captioning, Sign language interpretation and Audio description and each accessible format with captioning have been developed not only for the dialogues but also other sounds that are portrayed on screen, like the sound of a ringing bell. This is beneficial to the hearing impaired, the learning impaired and children with dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity. Sign Language Interpretation also benefits the hearing impaired as an interpreter narrates the entire story in Indian sign language from the bottom right corner of the screen. Audio Description helps the visually impaired, who can hear the dialogues but will miss its context by not knowing about the scene's background. Here whenever there is no dialogue, another voice will describe what is there in the background. This will help him/her get a more holistic picture of a particular scene.

The ‘KOMAL’ film has been widely used for screenings at housing societies across the country and featured in news and on social media in across the globe. Recently, in Thane, Maharashtra, Parents screen ‘KOMAL’ film to teach kids how to prevent sexual abuse- In a bid to create awareness about sexual abuse and safe and unsafe touch among children, CHILDLINE along with parents have come together in Thane to help them learn how to recognise the danger and deal with these situations. CHILDLINE along with parents launched this initiative through the screening of ‘Komal’ to generate awareness of the issue and enable the children to talk about uncomfortable incidents they may have experienced and did not have the courage to talk about them so far.
It is clear that Komal touches a chord amongst people across the world.  Komal has become a viral on whatsApp- thanks to parents. On YouTube it has over 6 million views. We have received emails requests for Komal form Philipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal (we are about to complete a special Nepali language version on request from organisations in Nepal), Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia and other countries. Requests for language versions have been received- Tibetan, Nepali, Arabic, Mongolia and so on.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) has formally requested for an International track of Komal so they can dub it locally for their refugee camps in many parts of the world.

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