A 2015 UNFPA report notes that 67% of India’s 355 million girls and women of reproductive age experience various negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes such as poor menstrual hygiene, early and closely spaced pregnancy, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and sexual violence. One in every five girls aged 15–19 in India experiences childbearing before age 17. Furthermore, multiple socioeconomic deprivations increase the magnitude of health problems for young women. Menstruation is considered a taboo topic in many places in India leaving many women without safe, accessible and hygienic spaces for washing and sanitation—there is a huge national debate regarding this. Many temples and mosques have barred women from entering their premises; women’s groups, activists and courts have reacted sharply to this discrimination. At the household and community level, discrimination against menstruating women is perpetuated and practiced by mothers, elders and community power brokers. There is a huge need to address the stigma and taboo attached with menstruation and for that, strong female role models in communities are required. TYPF’s programs address the needs of young people from low-income and marginalized communities. Nizamuddin Basti, where TYPF works, has 1900 households with a population of 10,000+ people. Girls there face deep, cultural and religious barriers to pursue their life plans. They often have witnessed or faced violence in families and communities. They are vulnerable to early or forced marriage, coupled with lack of access to information, services and restrictive attitudes, leaving them little or no opportunity to learn about or make safe decisions about their bodies, sexualities and health.
53.2 % of children in India have experienced one or more forms of sexual abuse (Source: Ministry of Women and Child Development study, 2017). This makes India home to one of the largest populations of sexually abused children. This indicates a clear need for programs on awareness and prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and sensitization of young adolescents about how to identify abuse and report it. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrator of child sexual abuse is known – a relative, neighbour, teacher, etc. Most children, according to studies, do not report abuse, finding it difficult to raise their voices against someone trusted. Family, schools and institutional care centers are often structured so that children’s voices are discounted or ignored. In 2012, India enacted The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. According to the law, it provides protection from sexual assault, and harassment and abuse while “safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process”. The law also makes it mandatory to report child sexual abuse. However, its implementation is less effective because of a lack of awareness among children, parents, teachers and other stakeholders.
The YP Foundation was founded in 2002 by Ishita Choudhary, to address the lack of critical thinking amongst young people on issues of social justice, discrimination and marginalization. TYPF addresses these needs by building a cadre of young leaders to take forward the agenda of young people’s sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) by: 1) increasing their access to information about SRHR; 2) empowering them to use existing platforms to strengthen engagement between young people, communities, civil society and government actors to influence policies on youth and 3) demonstrating ‘Youth Led Change’ by building young people’s leadership so that they can identify and address their needs. It is a youth-led organization working with youth, especially adolescent girls, from Dalit, Muslim and other marginalized communities. It engages young people as peer educators or volunteers across TYPF’s programs, and the communities these groups lead. Their programs enable youth to access critical information and services to aid successful, empowering transitions to adulthood. Ishita recently stepped down from her role at TYPF as the Executive Director and has been replaced by Manak Matyani, who has 8 years of experience leading youth groups on issues of gender based violence, SRHR and criminalization of alternate sexualities, and as a trained filmmaker with experience in digital storytelling, leadership development and community research design.
EMpower’s 3rd grant to TYPF will enable 330 adolescents to acquire leadership skills to lead interventions to enable improved sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), with a focus on reducing restrictions and improving their ability to manage puberty, menstruation and prevent GBV.
Primary Location: Delhi
Funded Since: 2016
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