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Protsahan Girl Champions Program

place India + 1 more

Educate, Elevate, Excel

Protsahan Girl Champions Program aims at care, rehabilitation, healing and reintegration of marginalised & disadvantaged girls facing SGBV. It address gaps in learning & pedagogy from early childhood education through high school for first generation learners in urban slums through arts & technology based interventions that result in higher economic inclusion through financial & digital literacy.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

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Target group
Students early
May 2023
We hope to see - Trauma-informed pedagogy - End to childhood adversity and sexual violence - Healing from trauma and higher sense of self-worth - Better scores in school - Access to higher education - Delayed age of marriage & first pregnancy - Enhanced economic productivity, equity, & access to justice for girls & women

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

The urban slums of India have a deep rooted system of oppression and violence against girls. Girls are deprived of access to education, healthcare, and equitable economic opportunities. Protsahan Girl Champions Program aims at care, rehabilitation, healing and reintegration of marginalised & disadvantaged girls facing SGBV, and opens up a world full of magical inclusive possibilities for them.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Protsahan works deeply embedded within the 86+ urban slum communities for more than 13 years now, working closely with the communities to identify children at high risk of abuse and violence. Based on a vulnerability assessment, girls are either enrolled at Protsahan’s closest grassroots centre, or linked to relevant government social security schemes immediately.

We start with the non-negotiable - education. Every girl is first enrolled in a school where she gets access to a mid-day meal, books, stationery, uniform, shoes, scholarships etc. The most marginalised and disadvantaged girls at high risk of facing SGBV are provided care, rehabilitation, healing and reintegration through programs that address gaps in learning and pedagogy from early childhood education through high school specifically designed for first generation learners through arts and technology based interventions that result in higher economic inclusion through financial and digital literacy.

How has it been spreading?

Protsahan started with 19 girls at one centre in the urban slums of New Delhi in 2010. Today, Protsahan:
- Has 5 centers reaching 86+ urban slum communities
- Reaches 90,000 girls directly each year
- Reaches 625,000 girls indirectly each year
- Rescued & reintegrated 1800 girls from various points of abuse and violence
- Employability enhancing 21st century financial & digital skills to more than 2000 girls between 2020-2022
- Unlocked more than INR 720,000,000 (€ 8,000,000) worth of social security benefits or economic opportunities for more than 125,000 families in urban slums between 2020-2022
- Trained 1850 police officers; 1720 judges, lawyers & media personnel; 8900 government & non-government institutional child protection officials; 44800 doctors, counsellors, parents & caregivers

If I want to try it, what should I do?

The program has been divided into easily adaptable modules on digital and financial literacy, language skills (English in South Asian context), career skills and guidance, civic participation and leadership, and essential life skills. Each module follows Protsahan’s HEART Model of working with adolescents between the ages of 6-19 years.
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Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

Through the use of trauma informed compassionate care, Protsahan Girl Champions Program makes a significant positive impact for girls by providing boosts to confidence, resilience and self-confidence through educational and support programs.

High scalability in developing and underdeveloped countries due to its relevant context and free-of-cost services to the girl child making it feasible for even low-income families.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Protsahan works in extremely under resourced communities with at-risk adolescent girls. Upon enrolment, the teacher/social worker begins by empathising with the child and understanding the possible circumstances she might be coming from. Home visits, counselling, trauma informed care would be incomplete if not administered with the backbone of empathy. This is the foundation of the HEART Principle at Protsahan that is applied at each stage of the Girl Champions Program.
Creative Engagement
Engage the child in the classroom through art based activities that also have the power to heal. A disengaged child is not open to any form of learning. She is introduced to LEGOs, group activities, art, dance, music, theater, and photography — any of the art forms she shows interest in. Each child’s motor and cognitive skills are observed and assessed through these activities. This allows the teacher/social worker to set a baseline for each child based on her individual learning needs.
Bridge Course
Protsahan is an after-school program augmenting formal school, not replacing it. The child may not have been to a formal school, or may have dropped out due to any reason in the past. The motor and cognitive skill assessment identifies a child’s individual learning needs, and designs a Bridge Course to help her prepare for an age-appropriate classroom setting. Elements of this Bridge Course are picked from the local school curriculum to help the child adjust in a formal classroom setting.
Trauma Informed Compassionate Classrooms
Once in a formal classroom, most girls disclose abuse as they begin to regain their agency. They form a bond of trust with their teachers/social workers that allows them to share their past experiences. They need delicate care and attention in addressing the trauma of abuse from the past or present. Trauma informed compassionate classrooms ensure that trauma that resurfaces through the practice of art, especially trauma repressed over time, is addressed properly and leads to complete recovery.
The HEART Principle
HEART Principle is the core of Trauma Informed Compassionate Classrooms. Education will not have an impact on a child unless the trauma of past experiences is healed. Teachers and social workers must be well trained to identify and address various stages of grief, anger, and acceptance that follow the realisation of abuse for each child. Art and technology based interventions help children concentrate, often reaching a meditative state where they finally accept reality, and begin the healing and recovery process.
Encouraging STEM
Girls are often discouraged to pursue STEM subjects in school, especially in slum communities. Encouraging girls to pursue STEM subjects ensures their options are not limited by their environment. Introducing them to circuit boards, encouraging them to create appliances like washing machines, microwave ovens, GPS trackers, etc. that make their lives easier, or telescopes and microscopes that push them to discover, provides just the beginning they need.
Introduction To Digital and Financial Literacy
The journey of empowerment is incomplete without financial independence. 21st century digital and financial skills are integral for an autonomous adulthood. Girls are introduced to all the tools they need to make sound financial decisions, take charge of their bank accounts that are often controlled by male members of the family, learn to use their ATM, phone banking, and internet banking safely, learn to save and invest for a rainy day, and learn the employable skill of accounting and data entry.
Public Participation With Design Thinking
Girls are encouraged to take up social impact projects in their communities as part of their fellowship or through other engagement points at Protsahan where they identify local issues that impact their lives, and huddle together to find solutions that will work for them. Under guidance of social workers, the girls then approach civic authorities to resolve the issues, and truly achieve local public participation rooted in principles of Design Thinking.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The entire program relies on constant monitoring and evaluation of progress demonstrated in each child through the steps. Each child is unique, and requires personalised attention to address the traumatic experiences from the past. Course correction, if and when required, must be backed by data that is acquired through a process of constant monitoring and evaluation.
Reaching Scale to Bring Sustainable Change
Protsahan conducts training with community stakeholders that impacts thousands, transforming their teaching pedagogy and working through the principles of empathy and creativity in child protection. The steps above have been taken through powerful trainings with over 4900 teachers, 1850 police officers, 1720 judges, lawyers and media personnel, 44800 doctors, counsellors, parents and caregivers impacting over 6 million children from vulnerable backgrounds by sharing best practices.

Spread of the innovation

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