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Written by: Brad McFarland

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

                  -Mahatma Gandhi

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CRHP is thrilled to announce that the Adolescent Boys Program (ABP) is up and running again. Its focus on health and social equity is complementary to the ongoing Adolescent Girls Program. ABP covers many topics not taught in school such as mental, physical, and reproductive health, the environment, and social issues including gender equality, domestic violence, and community leadership.

When Jayesh, one of the primary ABP instructors, was asked why the Program was started, he replied:

“At CRHP we noticed there was still room for improvement concerning social equality. Some villagers told us, ‘You have a women’s program, a men’s program, and a girls program, but you need to change the future boys if you really want to accomplish something that lasts.’ We have been helping the people being oppressed, but to break this cycle we need to change the oppressors too. If we can create change in this future generation, it will make sustainable development much easier.”

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Recently integrated into the boys’ curriculum is access to CRHP’s Science Center labs. The Science Center strives to promote interest in science, math, and technology while also developing creative thinking and problem solving skills.

In addition to their studies, the adolescent boys are able to form relationships with successful and ethical male role models from villages like theirs. These instructors from the Mobile Health Team enjoy teaching life lessons to these boys that they might not get elsewhere.

ABP was started up again November 22, 2014. Currently thirty boys from two villages, Khurdaithan and Saradwadi, are meeting every Saturday from 12-4 pm on CRHP’s main campus in Jamkhed. When the boys were asked why they participated in the Program they said:

“I really believe this will help me in the future – for the rest of my life.”

“I like the content.”

“Coming to this will help us bring change to our villages.”

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The major material covered so far includes sanitation, basic first aid, leadership, and gender equity. Some of the future topics will be domestic violence, sex education, substance abuse, and the environment. Prasad, an instructor, observed, “I really appreciate the big change since starting the Adolescent Boys Program. The boys are much more likely to help their mothers, and they are starting to treat all girls like their sisters.”

CRHP and the Adolescent Boys Program’s instructors are both thrilled with such rapid progress and optimistic for what the future of the program entails. They are confident that the proper cultivation of the boys now will push them to be future leaders their communities – guiding their villages down the path of social equity and good health.

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