Fifty-one Tribal, both Catholic and Sarna, Muslim and Scheduled Caste Hindu adolescent girl leaders from eight schools around Sale, Pakhripat, and Tutoli parishes gathered from Jan. 26 evening to 28 noon at Kutuderi health center to learn about the developmental and growth process of adolescents, hygiene and nutrition. The resource persons were the diocesan health coordinator in Daltonganj and the five Sisters in charge of the health centers in Latehar district of Jharkhand.

It is an initiative of ‘social initiative for growth and networking, (SIGN) from Ranchi, the social development center (SDC) of Daltonganj diocese, the health Sisters and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Rev. Christu Das, director of SIGN and Father Regi, the director of SDC also took some classes and offered the Sunday Mass for them.

The purpose of the adolescent intervention is to make the young girls good future leaders with sound knowledge, lasting values, and ultimately good mothers. They intend to help the adolescents to make proper decisions to better their lives from an early age.

The girls were extremely happy to be together, away from home. Through various classes, group interactions, documentaries and educational movies they learned how to maintain menstrual hygiene which is a major cause of health concern in the villages. In fact, they were encouraged to talk about it openly to do away with the various myths regarding menstruation. The inhibition to deal with the natural growth process leads to many sicknesses and unhealthy practices in the homes and it is handed down generation to generation.

Each group prepared an action plan. They gave a copy of it to the resource persons and kept a copy to themselves to work at it in their groups in the villages and in the schools.

Knowing the great need to educate the young girls early onwards, Kutuderi SCNs have formed fifteen adolescent groups of ten each in the villages, government schools and at the Nazareth girls’ hostel to help them learn to handle their own growth process, hygiene, nutrition and practical life skills to live a healthy life.

Students who have attended the adolescent training and meeting are doing well said some of the teachers of the two government schools in Timkitar and Barahi villages. According to them there is a marked improvement in the way girls come to school. They are clean and exhibit confidence in the way they talk and behave. They are also doing well in their studies.

Malini Manjoly, SCN | See more photos

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