What are periods? How does one handle peer pressure? Where do babies come from? Such simple questions related to sexual health and well-being remain unanswered for most adolescents.
A report by UNICEF highlighted that, at 253 million, India has the largest adolescent population in the world; every fifth person is aged between 10 to 19 years. However, most teens still deal with the stigma and lack of information on their own sexual health. Filling this gap is a new audiobook produced in a podcast-like format by and for children.
‘Kuch Ankahee Baatein’ features voices of adolescent girls and boys who have experienced social stigma around sexual and reproductive health and issues. Today, they are breaking barriers to start conversations in living rooms and on social media to address these topics. From periods and menstrual hygiene to early pregnancy and peer pressure, each chapter tackles various aspects of coming to terms with adulthood.
Hosted by young champions Rinku, Pinky, Kirti and Sneha, the episodes often engage other children from the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand in discussion.
“It is important to open up about these conversations. We hope that, with this audio book, more people are able to learn about their sexual and reproductive health in a non-judgemental and safe manner,” says Kirti, 19 year old student from Navi Mumbai.
Part of the ‘Ankahee Baatien’ community of People Powered Digital Narratives, these children have been trained in mobile storytelling and in using social media to tell their stories by Pluc.TV. They captured these stories in their communities over the course of a year and realized the existence of certain issues that everyone was shy to talk about. Boldly stepping out of their comfort zones, they decided to pick up the microphone and record information that can help other adolescents in attaining a holistic understanding of their sexual and reproductive health rights.
“We really enjoyed creating each chapter, as it covers many issues we have seen around us but never talked about. More girls, boys, and even their families should start these conversations in their daily life,” says Rinku, 18-year-old student from Gorakhpur.
The trailer of the audiobook has already crossed 100,000 views across platforms like Sharechat, Instagram, Twitter and Public. The audio book will also serve as a tool for teachers, parents, and community leaders who want to foster a healthy understanding and encourage conversations on these issues with children.