Our Goal Is ToAdolescents are one-third of the total country’s population. This age accompanies wide spread of adventure, school drop outs, sexual activeness, early marriage, teenage pregnancy and exposure to peer pressure. One of our studies in Gadchiroli (Hyperlink “Resource Centre – Women’s Health) showed that 46.7% of the unmarried girls examined had sexual contact. There was a high prevalence of gynaecological disease among the rural women (Hyperlink “Resource Centre – Women’s Health). A common culture of tribals to have live-in and pre-marital sexual relationships resulted in teenage pregnancy, abortions, miscarriages and unwanted pregnancies. Physical discomforts were backed by superstition. A woman with white discharge was tagged as having an extra marital affair. A menstruating woman was supposed to stay in a hut situated outside the village for 4-5 days till her flow ceases. With 20 million adolescent youth in Maharashtra waiting to enter into reproductive life, Adolescent Sex Education became the need of the hour.
Our solutionAnswer the dire need to increase awareness about reproductive and sexual health and sexuality among young adults so as to empower them with information to conduct themselves as responsible citizens of the country. Conduct co-learning of students, both girls and boys, ensuring that a healthy environment is developed within the society where there is mutual respect for both genders.
PresentlyIt was within this context that SEARCH started the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme in 1995 - Tarunyabhan - which literally means awareness about adolescence. We serve school and college going young men and women from grade eight to final year of graduation. A three day camp is conducted in schools, colleges and villages, in various parts of Maharashtra.
The sessions have been carefully designed by Dr. Rani Bang, focusing on relation with parents, information on sexual health, talks on the differences between love and infatuation and risks of premarital sexual relations. The topics generally covered in all camps are: changes occurring during puberty, anatomy and physiology of male and female reproductive organs, conception, pregnancy and childbirth, risks of abortion and childbirth, STDs and HIV and methods of prevention and sexual abuse. All of these backed by scientific knowledge.
Dr. Rani Bang says,
“Being a women, a mother of two and a gynaecologist, I felt the need that the curiosity that everyone, children and adults alike, has about sex and reproduction needs to be discussed and questions need to be answered”.
Our endeavours: Physical examination in camps Village level camps School and college level camps Strategy for drop outs Follow-up of participants and impact analysis