Over the last few months, stakeholders in KDMC and K-east ward have been met with trainings and advocacy on issues of safety and mental health.

Youth leaders of Kolegaon carried out an audit of cleanliness in their area – which they think is one of the major daily irritants affecting the community. They mapped the most unclean spots, observed if and when the garbage trucks arrive to collect garbage from there and documented this daily for two weeks. A report with this documentation including photographs were then submitted by youth leaders to the Solid Waste Department of Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation, in early November. The officials promised to look into the matter and next follow up meetings have been planned. After a few days youth reported that some of the spots are seeing more regular cleaning of garbage; the objective now is to ensure this continues.

Youth leaders of Bamanwada similarly carried out an audit of unsafe spaces in their area – this included interviews with a random sample of young women and girls as well as mapping and participant observation of certain spaces which they felt are unsafe. This audit was carried out over a period of two weeks in September and the report was then presented with map of unsafe spaces to the Senior Inspector Alka Mandave and her team of Vile Parle East Police station.

The Senior Inspector appreciated the thorough report and maps made by the youth group and promised to take into consideration the recommendations such as increase in police patrolling in the areas mentioned in the report. She also promised to look into issues of lighting and the availability of helpline numbers to the girls.

The youth group also spoke about the need for mental health training for stakeholders such as themselves. With this in mind they presented the Vile Parle station with a poster made by them, depicting the need of supportive stakeholders.

Earlier in August, a very important initiative which we have started after being exposed to the issue in an educational visit last year to KEM Hospital Pune, was undertaken with elected corporators of Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation. This was on the issue of Pedophilia which looks at the highly sensitive matter of child sexual abuse from the preventive angle – by training stakeholders and general public about the disorder of pedophilia where one is sexually attracted to children. KEM, Pune offers counselling to those who have identified this disorder in themselves or others, and Anubhuti is supporting this initiative by organizing trainings with various stakeholders. Not only the corporators but the Mayor of KDMC Smt. Vinita Rane wholeheartedly appreciated the training provided.

We thank Mariwala Health Initiative for supporting these initiatives.