29 Jun 2015

Joy of volunteering: Apeksha J Poojary shares her volunteer experience at CHILDLINE

Apeksha works hard, but she does much more than that. She joined team as a volunteer to help to reach out CHILDLINEs Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Program (CSAAP) to raise awareness on CSA. She is an ardent supporter of CHILDLINE.

I understand what CSA is from personal knowledge and my reason to volunteer for the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Program (CSAAP) stems from that. The CSA awareness program developed by CHILDLINE ​is so well researched and designed that acceptance from the children is easy. The children love the story format and hence communication of the message is powerful and lasting.

Every teaching moment is also a learning moment for the volunteer. I learnt that children have strong intuitive senses. I was awed when kids from 2nd grade would talk about 'atma' (soul) and 'dil ki baat' (voice of the heart) when I would ask them what 'inner voice' meant. I learnt that kids have a great sense of humor. When asked 'Where would they run away if they found themselves with a perpetrator?" one kid mused "Sharukh Khan's house!" Running away and talking about the incident to a Sainik, Jawan, Police, CID or Sher Khan (from Bunty's story) were common responses!

My experience as a volunteer has been varied. I have been completely humbled by the attention and love that kids show towards me because they understand that the story being told to them is important for their safety. I have also been appalled by the restrictive attitude of few school authorities showing concern over the session not being taken for girls and boys separately. I was told by a particular school teacher in a staff room to not talk too much about children's rights during a session or else the children might take too much liberty!

In every CHILDLINE session I feel an overbearing sense of responsibility towards our society's children, fulfillment of that responsibility and the realization that during the story telling session, I am helping children to hel​p ​themselves stay safe."  We have taken the first step towards the safety of our children with CHILDLINE. I would urge you to volunteer for the CSA awareness program and help CHILDLINE in its endeavour to reach out to children.

* Apeksha J Poojary, Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Program (CSAAP) Volunteer (Also, an ardent supporter of CHILDLINE). She is an Organization Development professional and Independent Consultant in Mumbai.