“Some girls and boys in the community came to me after the visit (class) and said that they are sorry for teasing me for dressing like a boy.” - Participant, 13 years old, Female
“I want to see a world where boys and girls are treated equally because girls can do anything boys can.” - Community Leader, 13 years old, Female
“My son has started doing well in class. Now he comes first in his class. His personality has become much better. He has become an extrovert. The YP Foundation‟s Life Skills Program has had a great influence in opening him up as a person.” - Mother of a 14-year-old boy, Sunder Nagar Nursery
“I draw and colour, we make a train to the basin station and wash our hands. I have learnt that by washing one’s face, hands and body and keeping myself clean I won’t get diseases. I now throw garbage into the dustbin and we make sure the area around where we live is clean. I play lots of games and colour drawings that talk to us about hygiene.” - Rakesh, 8 years, Uma Pandey Rainbow Home for Children, Aman Biradari
“You have been an amazing platform to find out where we stand and to develop our skills, be it leadership or communicative. I can say for myself as well as for some of the people that I came across this wonderful journey where we may be a small part of the YP, but the YP has and will always be a big part of our lives.” - Vineet Recriwal, 21 years, Volunteer
Blending Spectrum is a community-based programme that engages and trains young people as peer educators to work with children and adolescents from low-resource background towards increasing their access to education, leadership opportunities and increasing their awareness on health and hygiene.
Founded in 2006, the primary goal of Blending Spectrum is to increase sensitivity and promote a better connect and understanding between street and slum children and the urban youth. It aims at identifying potential in these children and connect them to schools, learning spaces and opportunities to develop life skills, complementing formal educational systems.
After two years of working and assisting sixty children to successfully enroll in schools, the focus of the project shifted to Life Skills, with the aim of creating and promoting an inclination towards formal education while providing interim skills to equip children to adapt better to mainstream schooling. WHO has defined life Skills as the “abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life?” They represent the psychosocial skills that determine valued behavior and include reflective skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, to personal skills such as self-awareness, and to interpersonal skills.
The programme’s niche is that it builds rights-based and youth-led enabling environments for children from low-income communities to develop the leadership and life skills to challenge gender inequality, reduce levels of violence and discrimination, and develop practices that promote personal hygiene in their local communities.
Additionally, the programme promotes access to vocational skill building and training opportunities for adolescents and young people.
Blending Spectrum’s pedagogy is based in the philosophy of recognizing the unique potential of each child and works towards enhancing children’s knowledge and awareness, with a focus on building self-confidence, leadership and other life skills. We strongly believe in developing a rights-based system that encourages the active participation of children and adolescents themselves in the process. The programme began with the aim of providing children and adolescents from low resource backgrounds in out of school communities, with assistance on education and health. The programme began with a tri-part focus to:
After two years of working and assisting sixty children to successfully enroll in schools, the focus of the project shifted to Life Skills, with the aim of creating and promoting an inclination towards formal education while providing interim skills to equip children to adapt better to mainstream schooling and other life circumstances. From 2007 till 2010, the programme worked in two locations – The Uma Pandey Rainbow Home for boys in Mehrauli, run and managed by the NGO Aman Biradiri and Sundar Nagar Nursery in Nizamuddin, New Delhi.
We currently work at the Sundar Nagar Nursery, which is part of Nizamuddin Basti in New Delhi, where the programme has been working with a community of 150 families, since 2007. It is one of the largest slums in Central Delhi, inhabited by migrants from small towns & rural areas from North and East India. Majority of the population is Muslim, while there is also a small group of Bengali speaking families from east India. Additionally, the Nursery is located off the main centre of the Basti, thus isolating the community members living there from multiple interventions (Governmental and Non-Governmental) that have been initiated. The programme aims to address the gap through the following interventions:
By building enabling environments for children to develop life skills 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;
By working to promote access to vocational skill building and training opportunities for young people.
Our innovation lies in using rights based youth-led strategies to advance access to education and leadership in out-of-school settings. The programme works with a group of youth peer educators, children between 5 and 17 years and their families annually. 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. In the last five years we have designed and implemented Life Skills manuals on hygiene, socio-cultural awareness and nutrition, and are currently implementing a manual focused on gender, discrimination and violence.
On completing 8 years of its intervention in the Sunder Nagar Nursery, Nizamuddin Basti in New Delhi, the programme brought in a Senior Consultant to review the experiences of the community and the surrounding impact the programme had had.
We found that Blending Spectrum had been successful in enabling young girls in particular, to increase their ability to negotiate in their communities with key stakeholders, ensuring they could therefore complete primary, secondary and higher education. Girls in the communities are now also taking up full time professional employment, alongside completing higher education degrees that are being supported by their families, advocating more substantively for gender equality in instances where they have been able to resist early and forced marriage.
Since 2006, Blending Spectrum has worked with 1300 children, 250 parents and 158 peer educators in the communities that it works with. The programme has successfully transitioned 248 children into formal schooling and has maintained a 0% drop-out rate till date. Some of our major achievements, over the last four years (2009-13):
To read more about the programme click here