Five days of "Joy N Joy"
The first day belonged to the apples, grapes and bananas. The 53 participating children divided themselves in to three groups named after the three fruits. They set the ground rules. Using various games and processes they tried to understand themselves and their friends. The Apples came from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. Grapes were from Karntaka, Orissa, Gurjarat and A.P., and the Bananas hailed from Manipur, Nagaland and Maharashtra.
In the afternoon session, children shared their personal issues and concerns with each other. During this session, areas covered were – hospital settings, family, friends, community, school, knowledge and information about HIV/AIDS.
At the end of the day the three fruits gave way to five rainbow colours Green, Red, Orange, Blue and Pink. For the rest of the days children worked in these groups and plenaries.
On day two children delved into their concerns and issues through participatory exercises. They listed the issues affecting them one by one, identified their causes and consequences.. Each group worked on a “problem tree”. The children wrote their issues in the trunk of the problem tree; the roots represented the root causes and the leaves represented the consequences of the issues. After they shared their issues in the problem tree exercise, they were asked to score some of the key issues under “How common is the issue?” and “How serious is the issue?”.
After the problem tree exercise was over they converted some of their issues into role plays. Their choice of subjects was revealing.
The Blue group acted out a situation showing the lack of awareness among doctors about HIV. The Orange group enacted a classroom situation where an infected child is discriminated against in the classroom and asked to leave; a birthday party where other kids discriminate against an affected kid; a hospital situation where there is lack of support from the care-givers and discrimination against HIV patients.
The Red group again enacted the hospital situation where there is no medicine and supplies. They also showed how kids are prevented from watching HIV programs on TV.
The Green group acted out a family situation where both parents were positive with no financial support for the family. They also enacted the discrimination in the hospital and public places like not letting positive kids to travel in buses.
Day three was devoted to child friendly approaches in providing better care and support services at the community level.
The day began with children identifying their achievements. Then they discussed their positive future. They then presented their dreams, matched their dreams with their experiences and looked at strategies and possible activities that would help them overcome their difficulties. Dreams and realities were then converted into powerful role plays. The role plays included (1) enactment of child centered awareness programmes on TV to avoid discrimination among children. (2) the removal of an infected child from school and his readmission through the Collector’s and media intervention.(3) interactions of a counselor with school teachers (4) discrimination at school and in the community and the intervention of the positive network (5) role and relevance of counselors.
DAY 4 and 5On Day 4 the children interacted with government officials directly, especially Additional Project Director of NACO and representatives of NGOs and shared with them their concerns, issues and possible solutions through market stalls and role plays.
The four days consultation was wrapped up by a colorful cultural program by the participants and on the fifth and the final day, the children packed up their dreams and left for Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, the tomb of Akbar and the Sufi saints.