On this International Day of the Girl, we’re celebrating Teach For India alumna Sneha Aiyer and her students for expanding opportunities for girls in their community. Last year, Shena worked with her students to develop the Darr Kar Nahi Datkar (DKND) (“Don’t be scared, be brave”) project to address child sexual abuse in Sangam Vihar, their neighborhood in Delhi, and one of the largest unauthorized colonies in Asia. In Sangam Vihar, sexual abuse of children is widespread and a recent survey shows that one in every two children is a victim of sexual abuse in India.
Sneha's class of 90 eighth grade girls developed the DKND project as part of their annual participation in the Design for Change challenge, where students use Design For Change’s four-step design process of Feel-Imagine-Do-Share to develop solutions to critical problems they identify in their communities.
To push her students to think beyond the most apparent issues in Sangam Vihar, such as excess waste and poverty, Sneha reframed the question and asked the girls to share the one obstacle they believe stands in the way of their ability to realize their potential.
Many of Sneha’s students spoke of child sexual abuse as a key issue. To her astonishment, more than 70% of the children in her class had faced some kind of sexual abuse.
Sneha and her students worked together to define the problem they wanted to address and develop potential solutions. The process led to the creation of toolkits that include a variety of resources to help children fight against child sexual abuse, including DKND wristbands and t-shirts, which they distributed to children in the community to help raise awareness and serve as an ice-breaker for families that are uncomfortable discussing the issue.