Holding a small book in her hands, 13-year-old Sujita gently walks down the stairs and meets a group of students in the school ground. Today, she is going to impart some new knowledge which she recently acquired. The excited students gather around her in a semi-circle as Sujita starts speaking about the importance of life skills. Her posture and words exuberates her confidence.
A native of Udipur, Sujita was among 350 children from disadvantaged and marginalised communities of Lamjung district to attend the life skills trainings in her community which was organised with the support of World Vision’s Child Protection Project.
"Six months ago I attended a four-day life skills training along with other children from my district. That training changed my life. I'm a new person now. My confidence has significantly increased after the training and my oratory skills have improved too. The training included sessions on teaching children how to express their ideas and thoughts without hesitation. Now I am able to express my views more boldly. The training made me a better person. It made me realise who I am as a person. It taught me how to manage stress and helped me understand decision making and problem solving which are important life lessons for a child," she says.
Seeing the positive change in her after the training, Sujita has also been nominated as the vice-president of her school's eco-club that promotes environmental preservation and spreads awareness on ways to protect the environment.
The lessons taught about effective communication, during training, enabled Sujita to express her views clearly to her parents, teachers and students. Sujita have evolved from being a conscious child who hesitated to ask question to a bold and confident girl who doesn’t shy away from asking any doubts, to her teachers, regarding studies.
Endorsing the need for attending such trainings and elaborating its diverse benefits for children, she says, "Life skill training helps children develop various aspects of their personality. They learn to develop their creative and critical thinking along with self-awareness, problem-solving and effective communication skills. Acquiring life skills are a core component of a child’s development. They are an integrated set of personal and interpersonal competencies that children need to lead a productive and fulfilling life."
Giving an example of how she applied the lessons learnt from the training in real life, she says, "Earlier, I had a bad temper and often behaved rudely with family and friends. But during my training I learnt about anger management and now I seldom get angry. Even my mother says that my behaviour has changed and I have transformed into a different person."
Apart from personality development Sujita found the training very beneficial to empower children on various social issues like child rights and child protection.
"Another highlight of life skills training is that it focuses on increasing self-awareness and builds the internal capacity among children so that they are empowered to speak up against issues that violate child rights like child marriage and child abuse. While I was receiving training, I learnt that child marriage is illegal, according to Nepali law, and boys and girls cannot get married before the age of 20 which is the legal age to get married in Nepal. I also learnt that child labour is illegal and children have the right to education, right to food and right to play," she says.
Sujita wants to become a veterinarian like her father. But along with her profession career, she also desires to volunteer and do social work. She is interested to work for children protections issues like child marriage and child labour.
By providing this vital training World Vision equips children to manage their thoughts and feelings, teaches them how to express themselves and how to handle challenging situations such as poverty, marginalisation, conflict or discrimination. The children are empowered to contribute towards the development of their communities.