CCDT’s Adolescent Empowerment Program (AEP) encourages children to be catalysts of change in their own communities, to become self-reliant and productive members of society who are capable of making informed decisions that benefit themselves and society at large. It strives to build ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders.’

In the project journey of one and half years 885 children have acquired life skills and information. They have been empowered to take their decisions, make informed choice, improve communication with their parents etc. Thus, the children came together to celebrate this transformation and the renewed sense of self after completion of the life skills and information module. From these children 125 child leaders have been created who will take lead to create a Surakhsha Manch for children in their own community.

The event was hosted and managed by a group of children on December 25, 2018. It started with a motivational speech by the chief guests  Police Inspector (PI) Dinesh Madhekar and Nagesh Pawar from Dahisar Police Station. They spoke about safe and unsafe touch, Child Helpline Number, and the excessive use of mobile phones. The program continued with a group dance performance by the children, and engaged the audience with their beautiful presentation.

The Adolescent Empowerment Program engages children and adolescents (aged 11—14 years) from marginalised slum clusters in Mumbai, with scarce opportunities for education and livelihood—who are exposed to violence, despair, substance abuse, and diseases. To address this issue the AEP team screened short films which highlighted the work of CCDT and the AEP project, and its journey of bringing change in the communities of Mumbai.

The bytes of children and ICDS worker in the short film showcased how the Adolescent Empowerment Program started and works by forming children groups in their communities. In the film, the child narrates a case story of his friend who was school dropout but with rigorous intervention and continuous follow-up they changed the perception of his parents; as a result he is now going to school regularly.

After the movie screening, a group of children performed a dance on the theme of Misuse of Mobile Phones, the tagline of their act was: ‘Mobile se dur raho, padhai pe dhayaan do’ (Stay away from mobile phones and focus on your studies).

At the end of the event children and stakeholders showed their gratitude by thanking the AEP team and children; promised to contribute meaningfully to their own development and positively influence development efforts within their communities.