Our most fond memories of childhood are found in cartoons. Whether it’s Tom running after Jerry, or Bugs Bunny eating his carrot - cartoons have a special place in our hearts. It reminds us of a time where all was well.
Keeping this in mind, Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ Girls Advocacy Alliance project in India, (across districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) decided to organise a training programme for its Youth Advocates on cartooning. Youth advocates are adolescents who are trained on GAA themes such as child trafficking and child marriage to advocate against them through various means.
The aim of the training programme is to give children something positive to engage with in these difficult times as they stay at home due to COVID-19 and school closures. It also aims to develop a skill that they can use to voice their concerns & opinions on the issues in their communities.
These sessions are being conducted online and it is facilitated by Mr. Hari Venkat, a professional cartoonist from Visakhapatnam.
The training sessions are moderated by the GAA project staff in India. “I believe using cartoons is the cutest way to motivate someone, especially if it is tough to bring out a positive behaviour change in them.”, says Subrat Kumar Panda, GAA Project Manager, India.
Children are taught with basic drawing skills and are given a brief introduction to different kinds of cartoons. Many advocates have come out with interesting drawings that depict their representation of issues. “I can now convert my ideas into pictures to make people understand. This training has helped me in learning a new skill”, says Sarita, a Youth Advocate.
Currently, the programme is in its initial stages where children have been introduced to the basics of cartooning. Each session ends with a task given to children to be ready for the next session. Children have come out with thought provoking and artistic representations of their thoughts.
The project plans to use these cartoons for sensitisation among the significant duty bearers as well as the common public. These cartoons will be disseminated through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and others.
The programme plans to reach out to more districts under GAA in India, and advance its level in the coming weeks.