Reflecting on my First Reachout by Namita Prabhukolwalkar

Being a person terrified of public speaking, I was clueless where to begin. However, reading through various posts gave me different ideas to carry out the process during quarantine. I reached out to adults. I followed the following steps to implement my awareness plan –
1. Making a post or story on social media
As a picture speaks a thousand words, I started by posting about the topic on my social media accounts. This was a good and safe space to start conversation. I was surprised by the reactions and responses I received. I realized that this should be done by individuals at progressive intervals to keep the thought and spark for action alive.

2. Making individual Calls
I reached out to friends and family members. I made them realize that all of us interact with kids somewhere and had discussions on their perspective about CSA.

Observations –

I found it appalling that many adult individuals ignored the street kids that they came across. It was almost as if the kids who are forced to live on the streets due to their circumstances did not exist.

Some people I spoke to were skeptical about approaching the topic and sharing their thoughts. I ensured them that it was a safe space and encouraged them to do their own research. I sent them content links where they could start their own awareness.

It was a harsh realization that people may take time to get comfortable with such sensitive topics. However, it felt like all the more reason to try on a fresh day.

Takeaways that I learnt from my interactions –
1. Dos during a reach out
a. Keep Conversation alive
b. Keep updated with changing norms and research from time to time.
c. Be informative and believe in your cause. If you do not believe in it, you
cannot convince other people.
d.Keep helpline numbers handy. Some people might ask what should they do if
they come across a case of CSA and a helpline number gives them assurance
of having a key resource for action.
e. Ensure and remind people that the authorities are on their side. Many people
are scared of approaching the authorities. So, give them alternatives but
ensure them that the official authorities are their friends.
f. Always start and conclude with concrete positive statements or actions. This is
the take away people seem to remember the most.
g. Be patient and sensitive. Really listen to people when they speak.

2. Don’ts during a reach out
a. Don’t be submissive of people’s thoughts.
b. Empower them to decide rationally, don’t preach and decide for them.
c. Don’t lose your calm.
d. Don’t shut dialogue.

It was an amazing experience to listen to so many people talk and empathize with the children. It made me realize that instead on only talking about movies or books with friends; meaning conversations about different such topics such as CSA can help sensitize more people.

I am grateful for such supportive, loving and positive people who went out of their depth and comfort zone to listen to me and discussed CSA. I am grateful to the KSCF Team for pushing me to start taking small steps towards a better tomorrow.

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