I am Arushi Pant, a 16 year old currently studying in Pathways World School Aravalli, Gurgaon. Since a very young age I have been inclined towards giving back to the community. I had an opportunity to work with ASHA - a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Kolkata on a child development project in Murshidabad, West Bengal. The project was aimed to provide psycho-social and education/skill development support to children. In this project, I worked with my team to evolve specific tools to create awareness in the communities and amongst the target groups on children’s safety.
“Children’s Armour” was borne from the above experience to create awareness on child protection. This initiative started by me was for the children and by the children. Currently, we have around 40 volunteers from different schools of Kolkata. We participate in child protection awareness drives, field visits to underprivileged schools and other activities. We are directly affiliated with ASHA and all our projects are done through them.
At the midst of this crisis, Children’s armour had lent its helping hand to fight this pandemic. We held a fundraiser with a series of activities lined up and raised around 1.4 Lakhs for the Government of West Bengal Relief Fund. We have always loved collaborating with other student led organisations as we believe that working with likeminded individuals will help us achieve our goal of making a difference in our society. Through these collaborative projects we raised funds for the Amphan relief fund, hosted a mental Heath awareness campaign and conducted a sanitary napkin collection drive with the support of several other student led organisations to provide sanitary napkins to the rural areas of West Bengal. In a month.We have been able to distribute over 250000 sanitary napkins to the underprivileged adolescent girls in rural areas of West Bengal.
Through this initiative I want to emphasise the importance of protecting the lives of our children which in turn will help us create a brighter future for our community as a whole.
We held an interactive session with the children ranging from the ages of 5-9. We talked about the origin of children's day, the importance of staying safe and secure, and the need for education along with distribution of chocolates, cakes and juices. There was enthusiastic dancing and singing as well.
We held an interactive session with the children that were in grades 6-8. We talked about the initiative “betibachao, betipadao” , the importance of staying safe and secure, and the need for education. We also told them about the festival “Christmas” and distributed Santa hats along with goodie bags made by the school “Akshar”. There was enthusiastic dancing and singing as well.
Children's Armour lent a helping hand in the fight against the crisis by holding a virtual fundraising event lasting over a few days on the social media platform of Instagram, where through the live stream features there was a myriad of talents show cased ranging from cooking to singing to rapping to poetry and to stand-up comedy. All collected donations were put towards the CM West Bengal Covidrelief fund. We raised 1.4 Lakhs in just over a weeks’ time.
Children’s Armour collaborated with different student-led organisations across the city to help the communities worst affected by the Amphan cyclone. We put donation boxes up at several locations in the city where you could contribute by providing us essential items like clothing or food (such as Rice, wheat, oil, flour, biscuits, etc.) which will be donated. Children’s armour helped out by setting up a box outside Reliance fresh, Rosedale Gardens, and Newtown.
Children’s Armour collaborated with Voicing Youth with an aim to educate parents about their child’s mental health and safety through an online panel discussion. Mrs.Monisha Datta conducted the session with about 25 parents.
Representing Children’s Armour, in the panel discussion I , along with one of our members, spoke about our initiative “It’s Okay to not be Okay” and gave our insight on mental health on World Mental Health Day.
Children’s Armour advocates for child safety and hygiene for young children, so during the Covid crisis we conducted a collection drive to improve access to period products for the marginalised communities. This project was in collaboration with 9 other student led organisations in Kolkata.We conducted donation drives by setting up donation boxes in different location and raising money, under the name #periodsdontstopforpandemics.
Sanitary products could be donated to Dropbox locations, or donate using Amazon, bank transfer or PayTM account. All the donations were distributed by ASHA,, to the rural areas of West Bengal safely.
The pads were donated across locations by ASHA, such as Pratapberia, Dakshindari Shiksha Niketan School and Baneswarpur.
Children’s Armour collaborated with Railway Children India to spread awareness about gender inequality and how there is grave disparity in rights when it comes to access to menstrual products, or even education for girls. Along with this, one of our core committee members, Jahnavi Garg did an “Instagram take-over” to use Railway Children India’s Instagram page to advocate about gender equality under the name #girlsmatter.