Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life skill development (Using films, cartoons, documentary etc)
Organised by : Anweshan
Venue:Harpara Ashram, Moynahut,Barasat.
Target group: Children aged 7 to 17 years, 15th Jan, 2011
Session presented by:   DEBASISH MANDAL ( Bichitra Pathshala)

After my session at Harpara Ashram, Barasat, I was filled with beautiful feelings that radiated from the sincerity and honesty of the children and their utmost desire to learn. Almost all the children belonged to the deprived- uncared segment of the society. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy their participation in the cinema based life skill development programme.

The film clippings  were grouped under themes like self-awareness, empathy, assertiveness, gender biasness, conflict and anger management. What added a unique flavour to our show were the introductions to all of the film clippings and the interaction at the end of every screening. The film  and cartoon clippings showed in this session were(i) The Brahmin and the crooks,(ii) Thirsty crow (iii) Hungry fox and crow (iv) The kid (v) Monkey and crocodile (vi) Donkey and the fox (vii) Friend (viii) Story of Meena.The introduction gave the viewer an idea of what to expect. During the interactions following the screenings I tried to understand the cognition process of the children, what they noticed, how much they noticed and how they correlated the clippings with their own environment. Take for example the screening of  Prix Jeunesse Mongolian film “Friend”  where a boy    (Orgil) – a mentally challenged grown up, has a friendship with a next door neighbour boy  (Baatar), who is not more than six year old .  Orgil is bullied by the peers. But his friend Baatar does not like it at all. He is beaten when he tries to make a protest.  One day he tries to teach them a lesson by replacing nicotine with pepper in the cigarette. He persuades them to have a smoke, but the boy can’t make out the trick. When the boy gets a bout of cough after taking a puff, Baatar is beaten by the peers. In the meantime Orgil appears and attacks the boy with a stone in his hand. This leads to imprisonment for Orgil. Baatar became heart broken.
Through this film I tried to facilitate discussions on some major problems of their lives, like bullying, anger and conflict.

In another film ‘Story of Meena’ Meena’s brother always has advantageous position in the family. Meena’s brother challenges to Meena to do her daily job easily. But during night Meena’s brother finds that her work is too arduous to her. He realises that Meena does lot for the family.  She deserves to have equal rights of everything.
I observed that this area is under the prejudice of untouchability and huge gender discrimination problem through some interaction. After screening and interaction everybody cheered and all the girls who are present there became excited.

To develop the listening skill i.e. communication to the young viewers I engaged into doing some activities in front of other viewers. After the activities Nurul one of the participant said “when I say something, one should listen properly, if not, I lose my interest to say something.”
Mohammed said “I always try to help others but some friends bully me saying ‘Mota’. But now I am self-aware and will try to control my anger by transferring it in a positive attitude.”
Some adults  expressed their gratitude for this session. The participants emphasised that this session was an eye opener to them, as it made them aware and conscious about some important daily matters of life.

As a whole it was a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to deliver my bouquet of films to them. The children enjoyed all the films and surprised me with their appreciation. I hope that the films will leave a lasting impact in their minds of the children. Many wanted to share their experience with their friends and relatives. I returned home with a beautiful comment from a little boy ringing in my ears, “ Sir abar kobeh ashben?”

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