“Saathiya” Peer educators!

This morning at breakfast, my daughter suddenly shouted, “What? I can’t believe it! Is this really happening? In India? Under the BJP rule? Oh wow! I wonder whose brain child this is!”

“What are you talking about?” I asked her. And she showed me this post http://indianexpress.com/article/india/same-sex-attraction-is-ok-boys-can-cry-girls-no-means-no-health-ministry-sex-education-4535410/

I must say, I am really impressed. To quote from the article, “In a bid to reach out to 26 crore adolescents in the country on health issues, the Ministry has decided to involve 1.65 lakh peer educators called “Saathiya”.

Health Secretary CK Mishra launched the ‘Saathiya Resource Kits’ along with the ‘Saathiya Salah’ – a mobile app for adolescents – under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) program.  http://zeenews.india.com/health/health-ministry-launches-saathiya-kits-to-improve-adolescent-health-1979431

This programme aims to reach out to the youth, the adolescents and educate them about sex, attraction, respect for the other and other things that kids at that age are curious about but don’t have the guts to ask anyone.

To quote from the article again, Yes, adolescents frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency and respect. It is alright to talk about such feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner… Boys should understand that when a girl says ‘no’ it means no,” reads the resource material in Hindi that is going to be circulated to states as part of the adolescent peer-education plan.”

A boy can cry to give vent to his feelings. He can also be soft-spoken or shy. Being rude and insensitive is not a sign of masculinity. It is alright for boys to like things like cooking and designing that are normally associated with girls; adopting the role of the other gender does not mean that he is not male. The same applies for girls who talk too much or like to dress like boys or play games like boys. It is wrong to label such people as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy’.”

 It goes on to talk about safe sex and masturbation as one of the options.

This was really something I never expected to see in India in a million years. I am so glad that it is being talked about and if implemented well, it will really have a great impact.

Yes, it seems radical, but isn’t it high time we stop burying our head in the sand and stop believing that teenagers are kids who should be protected from everything to do with sex till they get married. There is enough material out there to give them answers, mainly the wrong ones.

Telling them that attraction is normal, whether towards the opposite sex or the same sex is a bold statement and I am sure a lot of people are going to find it difficult to digest.

But I am sure the people who are looking forward to a more enlightened country where tolerance and respect form the basis of society, will definitely welcome this.

I for one, applaud this bold much needed sensible way of dealing with the issues we have and educating our young ones in the true sense. This is education at its best, not history or geography, but teaching our kids to live in the real world and giving them the tools for it!

What do you think? Please share your feelings in the comments below.

Sunita

Conducts life skill courses for kids, teens and adults. Proprietor of ‘The Know & Grow Learning Centre’ Passionate about writing and helping people become the best they can be. Believes that education should geared towards learning and not studying.