A population of almost two billion, and most Indian parents will never disclose to their children just how babies are born. Never mind the safe way of going about it, we are never even taught about the existence of sex.
The importance of sex education can not be stressed upon enough –– in fact, it must not be denied. As a natural part of life, one must be aware of sex and all that brings –– from the choice of participating in it to who one chooses to do it with, and safe practices to its notions of pleasure, sex education is an all-important topic that is yet to be normalised in India.
Sex education is often mistaken to be knowledge solely regarding the act of sex and how it must take place –– it is, however, way more than that. It is needed for young individuals to understand consent and be able to categorise certain actions as sexual abuse. The lack of information leads many young Indians to believe that sexual abuse is part and parcel of life.
With that being said, many organisations possess the aim of educating those who need education –– on sex, sexuality, health, consent, abuse and more. Here are just some of them.
I. Iesha Learning
Recognising that the kind of sex education that exists in the West is not fit for India and its audience, Iesha Learning contextualises information and delivers them in a manner that seems unsurprising –– learning about sex and all its attributes should not be jarring.
Through media, games, discussions, and worksheets designed for teachers to use with ease, Iesha aids the process of accurate information dissemination to children of appropriate age. By adopting Iesha’s course in schools, NGOs or institutions, one can ensure the lack of judgement and taboos in matters of sex education. From puberty to menstruation and sexuality to consent, Iesha’s content is capable of making a world of a difference.
Find Iesha Learning here.
II. Our Voix
This not-for-profit organisation feels strongly about the need to get children and young adults to understand the difference between good touch and bad touch –– without which, all touch may be considered normal. With their preventive programs on child sex abuse, Our Voix sensitively offers appropriate knowledge.
Not just that, the organisation also has its own ‘Know Your Rights To Stay Safe’ comic book to help engage children, rather than unload information on them. They are proof that sex education does not stop at biology and extends to safety, rights and consent.
Find Our Voix here.
With a mission to move toward a more progressive and inclusive mindset, Pratisandhi (synonymous with ‘resistance’) is a youth-led non-profit organisation. They aim to provide age-appropriate education on sexual health through teaching and even hold donation drives to cater to menstrual health. It is a reminder that sexual health is an umbrella with many needs that call to be catered for.
Providing access to accurate information across the board is a step to reduce judgement around such conversations –– much-needed ones. Pratisandhi, founded in 2018, does the same with its 80+ members.
Find Pratisandhi here.
IV. Super School
The Responsibly Yuva (TRY) under Super School India is a collective that organises workshops under ‘civic sense, values, and sex education’. Not only do they speak of safer sex, but they also educate the youth on sexuality, safe and unsafe touch, attraction and healthy relationships, cyber safety and more –– basically, everything one must know in order to be informed and respectful.
The sessions are conducted at their centre in Delhi, as well as at other schools in the city through collaboration. Creating a safe space for youngsters, TRY is on its way to clear taboos and myths about sex education through their no-judgement sessions. Since its inception in 2017, it has impacted over 1,800 children directly.
Find Super School here.
Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues (TARSHI) aims to create public awareness around sexual and reproductive health. It ‘conducts training, develops publications, participates in public awareness and education initiatives, runs an infoline, and provides technical support for advocacy initiatives’.
Their rights-based perspective does much for safety and inclusivity –– in fact, they create Safe, Inclusive and Sexuality-Afforming (SISA) spaces to allow people to stray away from judgement and have no fear of sharing or learning anything related to sex, sexuality and health.
Find Tarshi here.
Using technology for good, ThatMate encourages youngsters to enrol and engage with their application that along with its AI bot answers their queries. They also expose them to the needed information in interesting ways, such as comic books, while aiming to bridge the mental and sexual health awareness gap.
ThatMate also targets parents for sensitisation toward these topics, and has doctors and counsellors on board to help with guidance. With a holistic approach using the right tools, ThatMate makes learning about sexual health as normal as any other topic in class.
Find ThatMate here.
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