SMART-i to be rolled out across the State

A “tree of aspirations” drawn by one of the participants of SMART-i camp.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The inmates of Government Girls Home at Ernakulam now wake up every morning looking at trees drawn on charts pinned to the walls. From those trees hang their myriad dreams, aspirations, and talents that keep them motivated.

This was one of the many outcomes of the SMART-i (Sensible, Motivated, Able, Responsible, Talented) initiative, the first ever life-skills education camp organised by the Department of Women and Child Development, for the inmates of childcare homes earlier this month, under its Our Responsibility to Children (ORC) programme.

Seventy-two inmates of the Government Girls Home, Ernakulam, and Government Boys Home, Thiruvananthapuram, attended the three-day camps, held in compliance with COVID-19 protocol.

SMART-i is a derivative of SMART-40, a life-skill education camp organised since 2010 for 40 select children, with behaviour, personality, social, learning, and mental-health issues, in schools where the ORC programme is active. ORC is now being run in 356 schools across the State.

“Though SMART-i was conceived in the context of the pandemic, it will now be treated as a pilot project and gradually rolled out across government childcare homes across the State while resource persons and materials will be shared with homes run by NGOs. The module for the project will be refined after incorporating suggestions. We have also created materials in other languages so children from other States lodged in these homes are not left out,” said Arya R. Chandra, State programme officer, ORC.

The activities-based module involving eight life-skills was developed with a focus on self-awareness, empathy, effective communication, interpersonal relationships, and coping with emotions and stress.

The participants of the maiden camps were given hands-on activities and assessed. “We have received moving response from the inmates of the homes requesting for more such camps,” said Ms. Chandra.

The case of Divya (name changed), a 16-year-old inmate of Government Girls Home is one such. She wanted to return home but had a change of heart since the camp. The teenager now wants to do a nursing course and be independent before returning home, a new-found conviction, which she attributed to Smart-i.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 9:52:46 PM |

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