The two recent incidents of sexual abuse in city schools has prompted the Kolkata chapter of Young Indians (Yi), the youth wing of the CII, to reach out to as many children as possible here with 'Project Masoom' - a nationwide mission that aims to create sexual abuse awareness. Inspired by Aamir Khan's TV programme Satyamev Jayate and launched by Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi in 2015, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) project sensitizes students about 'good touch' and 'bad touch' and gives them tips on safety and protection. "Yi Kolkata is already engaged in conducting awareness sessions in schools across the state. Also, with the support of London Paris Multiplex, we were able to screen our productions and sensitize over 78,000 individuals during Yi Masoom week (14 Nov-20 Nov)," Alifiya Calcuttawala, chairperson of Yi-Kolkata chapter, said. The project intends to spread awareness among parents, teachers, and children on the need to differentiate between a "good touch" and a "bad touch" and act accordingly, she said. "Given the current situation in Kolkata, we have decided to step up our activities. We call upon schools to make the most of our voluntary mission for the safety of innocent children," said Calcuttawala. The Yi counsellors use children-friendly ways, such as arranging screenings of national-award winning animated film Komal, to reach out to the little ones, said Rachit Malik, who leads the Masoom project in Kolkata. In the past one year, Yi Kolkata has organised awareness campaigns in around 60 schools in the city, including Mahadevi Birla World Academy, St Thomas' Girls' School, Don Bosco, Swarnim International School andAgrasain Balika Siksha Sadan. Project Masoom has also reached out to schools in Midnapore, Kharagpur and Barrackpore, Malik said. The CII statistics reveal that one in 6 boys and one in 4 girls experience some form of sexual abuse before they turn 18.
Nearly 39% of the global children population lives in India, while 53% of Indian children are victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. About 89% of the crimes are perpetrated by family members. Boys face more abuse (over 72%) than Girls (over 65%). More than 70% cases go unreported and unshared even with parents or family members, the statistics said.
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