CREA organises its first SELF Academy (Sports, Empowerment, Leadership and Freedom for Young Girls)

3 January 2016
Tribal Culture Centre, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand
SELF Academy

CREA organised a 15 day residential camp, SELF academy from December 20, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Fifty young women participants, selected from the four districts of Jharkhand were offered opportunities of holistic development, apart from football coaching. The Academy was held at the Tribal Culture Centre, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.

The main objective of the SELF academy was to provide various skills to young women so that they become self-reliant and self-confident, and can make their own decisions related to their bodies, health, career and lives. “Girls are deprived of many opportunities due to gender based negative discrimination, such as media and technology. The aim of the Self academy is to give them some such opportunities. Self Academy is not a vocational training, but an effort to provide them different options that they can pursue according to their interest. To facilitate this, CREA is planning to award scholarships to a few participants,” shared Sanjana Gaind, Programme Manager at CREA.

The different sessions during the SELF Academy began at 7 o’clock in the morning and continued till 8 o’clock in the evening. Apart from the football sessions, the course at the Academy included sessions on Gender and Sexuality, Violence, Body, Self- Confidence and Self- Esteem among others, but the emphasis was placed on skills-building and strengthening leadership for the young girls.

The skills-building included practical sessions on various subjects that they do not have an easy access to, such as basic computer skills with NIIT certification, English, comics making, financial management, banking, community radio, auto-rickshaw driving, filmmaking and theatre. USA based documentary filmmaker Sandy Ciofi taught them how to work with the camera. “Sandy taught us to work with a camera. She also told us how, with the help of a camera, we can present our image as we want.”  shared Geeta, a participant at the Academy.

Raghav Singh from NIIT provided basic computer training and was very happy to see the participants getting these opportunities.“I feel very happy to see these young women from rural and tribal areas getting such opportunities as it is usually not easy for them to get trainings on such subjects.”

CREA has been working with the community-based organisations for past three years in Jharkhand to advance Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of adolescent and young girls through sports as a part of its It's My Body programme. The programme brings together girls by forming football groups. The girls are provided trainings on various aspects of SRHR apart from the regular football coaching.

CREA along with its seven partner organisations works directly with 2625 adolescent and young girls and reaches out to over 3000 adolescent and young girls indirectly. As a result of participating in the It's My Body programme, adolescent and young girls feel more confident and have been able to challenge gender norms, negotiate with their families a delay in their marriage and stay in school to complete higher education and to demand and access health services in their communities. The programme has been successful in creating a supportive environment in their families, schools and communities enabling adolescent and young girls to speak out against different forms of abuse, harassment and violence.

Encouraged by achievements of the It's My Body programme, CREA aims to take further learning opportunities for young girls equipping them with skills to pursue opportunities for their professional development. CREA is working with five of its community-based partner organisations in Jharkhand to identify and select 50 young girls per year to attend the 15 day residential SELF Academy.