by Dr. Susan Mathew
NEW DELHI, APRIL 24, 2015: The Don Bosco Research Centre organised a two day training programme for teachers on identification and prevention of substance abuse among school children on 15th & 16th April 2015. The programme was a collaborative venture with the NGO 'Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM)'. The participants were representatives from various schools providing education to children who had dropped out of school and were associated with the programme called `Back to school'. About 40 teachers attended the programme.
Pre- workshop forms were distributed to teachers to assess their understanding about substance abuse. On the first day, Dr. Yatan Pal Singh, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, conducted a session on drugs, types of drugs, symptoms, effects and the role of teachers in the identification and prevention of substance abuse. He urged the teachers to make children aware of the ill-effects of substance abuse and help them say 'no' to drugs.
Dr. Mridula Seth, Director of `Padhai Ka Maza' project of SPYM and a specialist in skill training, highlighted some of the important qualities like compassion and empathy. He stressed on the fact that teachers needed to possess these qualities in order to help students deal with emotions and identify stress factors that could lead to substance abuse. He also advised the teachers to refrain from labeling children for their bad behaviour, but instead to look beyond what met the eyes to boost their self- confidence.
The second day of the programme saw an activity filled session conducted by Ms. Kalyani, a consultant with SPYM on substance abuse and skill training. One of the activities (named maza-saza) was to identify cause and consequences. Here the teachers had to pen down one cause and one consequence on a flip card and paste them on a board. At the end of the activity, the board was filled with causes and consequences of substance abuse. Mrs. Kalyani mentioned that it was important to focus on the consequences of substance abuse rather than the cause. She also engaged the participants in case study analysis of problem identification and solving. The model included five key factors such as P - Problem identification, O -Options, W -working through options, E- environmental factors and R- Resolution /solution. A game `passing the parcel' was interesting as well as educative, where the teachers had to imagine they were children and had to respond to the questions given to them. The message of the day was -`Say no, change talk, leave the place' were some of the strategies one has to adopt when caught in a situation relating to substances.
During the concluding session was a recap of the two days by Dr. Rajesh Kumar, the Executive Director of SPYM. Each participant had to illustrate what they had learnt about identification and prevention aspects from the training sessions. Mr. Jung Bahadur Sing, Director of Sarva Siksha Abhayan, Delhi urged the teachers to practice the lessons they had learnt, to prevent substance abuse among the young ones under their care. Post- training evaluation forms were filled up by the teachers. The programme ended with a vote of thanks and distribution of certificates to the teachers.