Blending Spectrum, literally meaning "people from different walks coming together to realise a common ground with one another", is a community based programme that engages and trains young people as volunteers and peer educators to work with children and adolescents between ages 5-17 from low resource neighborhoods. The programme builds rights-based, youth-led and enabling environments to develop children’s leadership and life skills to challenge gender inequality, reduce levels of violence and discrimination and develop practices that promote personal hygiene.
Blending Spectrum has been working in Sunder Nagar Nursery (SNN), an unauthorized colony situated inside the Nizamuddin Basti, Delhi. Through Blending Spectrum, we try to do two things:
- Build enabling environments for children to develop life skills and to challenge gender inequality, reduce levels of violence & discrimination, develop practices that promote personal hygiene in their communities through innovative lesson plans using mediums like discussion, theatre, art dance & film.
- Working to promote access to vocational skill building and training opportunities for young people
The programme has successfully maintained a minimum of three- fourths (out of every four children, three are girls) participation of girls in all interventions since its inception.
Since 2008, we have been working with a community of 150 families living in SNN. Migrants from smaller towns and rural areas, largely from North and East India inhabit the area. The majority of the population is Muslim, while there is a small yet distinct group of Bengali-speaking families from east India, who continue to remain isolated due to language and socio-economic difference. Sunder Nagar Nursery is a part of the larger Nizamuddin Masti in Central Delhi. It is located outside the Nizamuddin Basti in Central Delhi. It is located outside the Nizamuddin Bastion the opposite side of the road, thus isolating the community members living there from the multiple interventions (governmental and non-governmental) in Nizamuddin Basti. There is also a divide between three sections of the community based on socio-economic factors, including income, origin and occupation. The type of occupation, religion, gender and region of origin largely determine identity and status.
Since the very beginning, the programme has worked with 1300 children, 250 parents and 158 peer educators for the implementation of its goals. The programme engages up to 20 young volunteers and 12-15 community leaders to work with 150-200 children annually.
- The Safety Audit 2016: led by youth leaders in 3 urban slum communities of Delhi, it identified the existing lacunae in the services and physical infrastructure using a smartphone app. The initiative has also helped facilitate dialogue between the community members and the government representatives.
- Meri Suraksha, Mera Haq: led by the youth leaders in SNN and the Blending Spectrum Team, the 2016 Safety Audit was revisited in 2017. The project was carried out over 3 weeks in the SNN and Nizamuddin Basti area, where the young leaders documented and mapped out 'safe' and 'unsafe' areas through their cameras. The project concluded with an exhibition of the participants' photographs and findings of the group, which they used to advocate with community members and with the local authorities for safer public spaces and improved sanitation. See pictures here.
- Samvidhan Live- The Jagrik Project: In October 2016, TYPF had the opportunity to partner with 'Com-Mutiny - The Youth Collective' to introduce and implement the Jagrik Project, which aims to build young people's awareness of their fundamental rights and duties as citizens of India. The project engaged young people between the ages of 12 and 25 over 8 weeks to undertake a series of community and self-reflective tasks associated with different fundamental rights and duties. Read more here.
- In 2015-16, the programme trained 12 peer educators who further conducted 40 training sessions on Life Skills. A total of 150 children and adolescents between 5-17 years (98 girls and 52 boys) were sensitized on the issues of gender-based discrimination, violence and health and hygiene. Many of them will now work as peer educators for a new cohort of children ages 5-7 in the next programme cycle.
- The total percentage of out-of-school children has reduced from 95% (2008) to 18.5% (2012).