‘Kiosk,’ they murmured to themselves upon learning the name of the alien machine on their campus. The girls of Class VII explored, in batches of five, the contents of the interactive device set up on the stage at Government Higher Secondary School for Girls, Cotton Hill. They swiped from one section to the next on the touch screen and scribbled down some of the information, particularly the helpline numbers. In the end, the 12-year-olds were unanimous in their gratitude towards this initiative of the Janamaithri wing of the State police.

“Almost everyday you hear news of attacks on women and even children. We need to be careful and we need to know what to do instead of waiting to complain to our parents or teachers,” is the statement made by a Class V student in the book of comments on the computer terminal that is being filled as each batch completes one demonstration – exactly what the Janamaithri led by nodal officer and Additional Director General of Police B. Sandhya was hoping for.

“We know of only the number 100 to contact the police but there are all these helpline numbers that I did not know about,” said Soumya of Class VII. The class monitor, Alina, feels that it would be useful for every student to go through the contents that talk about the problems faced by women, the solutions and even on laws governing women’s safety.

Considering the sheer numbers in the Cotton Hill School, Raja Ram, the police official who is conducting the demonstrations for the students, said the Kiosk would be here until every single student had got a chance to go through it.

The pilot project was launched on Monday at four schools, including Model Girls’ School Pattom, St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School and Fort High School. The Kiosks will be taken to other schools in the State as part of an awareness programme to equip young girls with knowledge to handle situations.

At Model School, Pattom, there were screening of karate and self-defence tactics and a photo exhibition of the activities of the Janamaithri police. This will be carried out in the other schools as well. The Janamaithri also boasts a theatre troupe of eight police officers who will be staging plays in the schools highlighting women’s safety.

Ms. Sandhya has plans to set up Kiosks at other institutions where women are more in number and also at bus stops and other public places.