We began our community response work when local communities reached out to us through our faith foundation funds and also by raising funds from other organizationsation
In the midst of the pandemic and without access to children in schools, Faith Foundation decided to reach out to adult stakeholders online to spread awareness of child sexual abuse.
As a means of reaching out to remote areas, Faith Foundation began a radio program called “Lawei ki hep jong ngi” (our children’s future) which is broadcast on All India Radio, Shillong.
Our community response work began when our communities reached out to us. Due to the uncertainty, we contacted a few families from our community through a small survey to determine how they are handling the situation. Many of our farmers, many of whom live below the poverty line, have been negatively affected by climate change for a long time. We were able to help some of the most in need families by utilizing money set aside from a community program we were unable to conduct due to the pandemic with the help of indigenous women farmers.
Donors such as the Seven Generation Fund, Global Fund for Children, and the Indigenous Women’s Forum AYNI FIMI have been very generous in providing emergency funds in order to support the organization in reaching out to three communities, including Umsawriang, Syllei-U-Lar, Umktieh and other nearby communities with basic essentials and other materials in a more sustainable manner..Also, we received generous support from partners like Goonj, Grassroot, Impulse NGO Network, and Arpan. Dasra also supported us under their Back the Frontline initiative.
Due to the pandemic and with no access to children we work with in the schools, Faith Foundation decided to focus on reaching out to adult stakeholders online. The reason we decided to make online information was that there were a large number of child sexual abuse cases that were reported during the lockdown. It was imperative to reach out to adult stakeholders and the only way to do that was through social media.
The purpose was to create awareness and sensitization on child rights and child sexual abuse by using social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. To reach the garo speaking population, information on child sexual abuse was also translated into the garo language, as well as the khasi language. Flyers in English, Khasi, and Garo languages were made available in our online social networking platforms. They included illustrations tailored to our social context. In addition to the online presence and response, we also partnered with CHILDLINE 1098 and shared emergency numbers for people in need of support.
On the 11th of May 2020, a YouTube channel was created to help reach out to adults and help them understand the issues of children and how to respond during the pandemic. Despite the fact that it is very easy to get access to information online, there are few or no resources in the local language. Therefore, we felt it was important that we created content that could reach out to the maximum number of our audience, so the content was produced in the Khasi language with English subtitles. The YouTube channel is called “Faith Foundation Shillong” and the program is called Lawei ki hep jong ngi, which means our children’s future.
During the pandemic, the organization partnered with various professional organizations and institutions such as the Health Department, non-government organisations like North East Network and Child Line, and Martin Luther Christian University, inviting them to speak on important topics such as the use of traditional foods to meet the nutritional needs of children. Child line presented data and the current situation of children during the pandemic and how to address and respond to these issues while Dr Jennifer War, Head of Centre for Gender and Dean Academics talked about why parents need to talk about Human Sexuality and the stages of sexual development with children.
Project Director of North East Network, Shillong has also shared her thoughts on the effects of domestic violence on children, the cycle of violence and how domestic violence affects women and the family as a whole. The Program officer of RKSK (Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakaram) under the National Health Mission, Ms Flourish Lyngdoh, also shared her thoughts about teenage pregnancy in our state. During the event, Dr Jasmine Mary Lyngdoh, a clinical psychologist, discussed the signs and symptoms to look out in children who are being abused, as well as the dos and don’ts for adults when a child discloses abuse information to them. We shared the video links and infographic information materials with the Whatsapp groups for school teachers and community members we work with.
To reach out to the remote areas, Faith Foundation had initiated a program by the same name ‘Lawei ki hep jong ngi” (our children’s future) which is aired on All India Radio, Shillong on Saturdays at 9.20 a.m. The program is being recorded in the local language for a duration of 10 minutes and features topic on