My Journey From A Survivor To A Social Entrepreneur

I am Sahida Khatun, a software engineer and a mother of two kids. I am a childhood trauma survivor. I believe a safe childhood very much essential to become a better human being.

I was born and brought up in a village in West Bengal. My parents had invested a lot in my education and I always used to feel proud of it. However, I used to feel sad when I observed many of my neighbours and relatives ignoring their child’s education.

Their daughters had to drop out of schools so that they could handle household chores or get married soon. On the other hand, their sons had to drop out of school early so that they could start earning early.

Still, today, whenever I visualise the ‘top view’ of the Indian education system, I can see a lot of adolescent girls and boys who are just out of this system due to the lack of family support. Moreover, when I go deep into the education system, I find the system is not really a safe learning space for all.

More than physical safety-related issues we have unresolved emotional safety-related issues. That is why students are under stress and every hour there is an incident of student suicide in our country.

So, to achieve the goal of ‘education for ALL’, we must focus first on creating safe learning environments for all. To create a safe learning environment, we need to focus on sensitising students with relevant life skills.

However, as discussed with teachers, parents and students, I found only sensitising students is not enough, we have to sensitise parents and teachers too.

I was running a campaign (#ParentsInSchool) through asking for better parent-school collaborations to ensure student’s safety.

Then, I thought of move this campaign to an advanced stage. So, I have created this platform Safe School Life so that we can sensitise parents, teachers, and students through our digital modules as well as from offline workshops. Change.Org has helped me with an initial grant.

My idea has been also selected for incubation by Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They helped me connect with the schools so that I can validate my idea with the school authorities.

At this moment, focused life skills include:

  1. Mindful Parenting: For parents as well as for teachers too
  2. Cyber Safety Guidelines: For Students, For Teachers and For Parents
  3. Act of Kindness: For students to control emerging peer violence

I started taking workshops on mindful parenting in schools. I also visit ICDS school to understand the safety-related issues of underprivileged children.

Not only the modules but I also want to create an interactive forum with educators, parents and students.

An educator can be a storyteller, personal safety trainer, a student counsellor and of course a teacher. A safe community can only create a safe learning environment for our student. So, I request all of you to join the forum SafeSchoolLife and contribute your valuable inputs in terms of story, picture, and ideas. We will also have a reward system for your value addition to our community.

My dream is to nurture the innovative minds of our children and to ensure the safety of those minds. I believe in that way we can convert our developing country to a developed nation one day.

I urge for cooperation from all the stakeholders who can ensure the safety of our students.

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