NEIGHBOUR HOOD

Taking care of the most vulnerable

Formed by two city-based gynaecologists, Sangeetha Saksena and Shaibya Saldanha, Enfold Proactive Health Trust aims to counter growing problems like child sexual abuse, sexualisation of children, sexuality among adolescents and young adults, HIV/AIDS and also addresses mental and emotional health of the youth.

“Dr. Shaibya and I were working at St. John's Medical College and Hospital in Bangalore as associate professors for 10 years. We had young people coming to us with problems such as unwanted pregnancies and HIV, which seemed to be arising from a lack of adequate information on sexuality,” says Dr. Saksena, the founder member of Enfold Proactive Health Trust.

The duo left clinical practice to devote their time to improving adolescent and child health. “We started conducting sessions on sexuality, HIV and personal safety for high school students. We realised that the problem was not just lack of information, but lack of self-confidence that prevented young people from saying ‘no' in potentially harmful situations,” she added. The organisation conducts workshops in primary schools for pre-adolescence children, middle school for early adolescence children, in high schools and colleges for young adults, and also for parents and teachers.

“I am a trained counsellor, and during one of my sessions I came across a 17-year-old counselee, who was sexually abused as a child till the age of 16. The child was so traumatised I felt inadequate in dealing with the situation. That's when I felt I need to be trained in sexuality and personal safety too. I joined a course that was conducted by Dr. Shaibya and Dr. Sangeeta,” says Radha Sameer Siddhanti, now the coordinator-facilitator of Enfold.

“Violent computer games are teaching our children how to resolve conflicts; models and actors are teaching them how to dress; advertisements are telling them what their skin colour should be; and dramatic scriptwriters are teaching them about relationships and family life,” says Dr. Saksena. Though Enfold's base is in Koramangala, its work is carried out by trained facilitators in various parts of the country such as Shillong, Ludhiana, Dehra Dun, Gurgaon, Delhi and Pune. For more details e-mail: sangeeta@enfoldindia.org

Ushnota Paul



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