Giving women with limited education an employment avenue and helping them make a difference, an education society in Pune is soon going to offer a certificate course in preventing child abuse.
Besides child abuse, the Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha will also introduce a childcare course in January 2008.
The duration of the courses will be from six months to one year and they will be affiliated to the University of Pune in western India. The minimum qualification for the courses would be a higher secondary school certificate.
Pallavi Kasande, the coordinator of the group's Women's Study and Research Centre (WSRC), said: "We thought a certification course in prevention of and dealing with child abuse is the need of the hour. Although people coming out will not be psychologists, they can become professional counsellors with NGOs helping people deal with child abuse."
There are several postgraduate level courses in childcare and counselling. However, the minimum qualification required to pursue these courses is a college degree. This will be the first certificate course, specifically for women, of the kind in the country.
A series of surveys by WSRC found that the incidence of child abuse was on the rise. And since child abuse, be it physical, mental or sexual, needs to be addressed with professional help the Samstha decided to step in with the course.
The country does not have adequate professionals in the field. Psychiatrists are not always easily accessible to the common masses.
Bharati Kotwal, coordinator of Pune-based NGO Alochana's programme for child abuse victims, said: "These kinds of courses are welcome and people coming out of such courses can be used as first contact with the children and later can be trained as professionals in the field. They will be helpful for creating awareness in society with respect to child abuse."
The WSRC also found that there was a growing need for people in the field of childcare management in the country.
In 2000, a report by the Department of Women and Child Development of the Ministry of Human Resource Development had hinted at a need for 800,000 crèches in the country.
WSRC director Pratibha Joshi said: "Through our courses, people will get complete training on how to run a crèche, what all activities to include, and facilities and infrastructure to provide. This way we are promoting entrepreneurship among women."