‘No more half-baked info on puberty’

ASAVARI SHARMA

NID student Anupriya Arvind creates handbook, which can be personalised, to empower teens on the subject.

The student created content, sought feedback and revised her own work.

The student created content, sought feedback and revised her own work. Photograph by AM.

Growing up in an open-minded family, Anupriya Arvind was shocked that her friends in Jamshedpur needed to whisper about puberty. About a decade later, the 24-year-old student of the National Institute of Design (NID) has come up with “The Puberty Project”— a handbook on puberty aimed at girls aged 12–14.

Anupriya’s handbook came about because she wanted to do something “challenging” for her second year project. “My first instinct was to avoid doing what everyone was doing,” she says. She decided on her topic after speaking to school authorities in Jamshedpur.

“Various school counsellors told me girl students approached them with puberty-related queries, but that it was difficult to reach shy students who did not raise the issue,” she says. “I decided on this project after conducting a survey of students in my own school. I want to give girls firsthand information about puberty. With this, the middle man is eliminated, and the girls don’t need to rely on skewed sources or half-baked information,” says Anupriya.

Anupriya’s idea was to eliminate the middleman and make information accessible.

Anupriya’s idea was to eliminate the middleman and make information accessible. Photograph by AM.

The Puberty Project is all hers. the She’s created content, filtered it, sought feedback and revised her book based on feedback. But it hasn’t been easy. Anupriya’s first hiccup came when she realised that not only to most city schools not advocate sex education, they didn’t even want her talking to their students.

“Schools did not allow me to interact with their students, since puberty is a ‘sensitive issue’. I had to talk to them after school and when they were playing, in order to get feedback,” she says.

Anupriya explains that her project is meant to empower the reader. “It’s basically a big piece of paper, so the reader can fold to suit her personal style of reading. The third-person narrative also has Indianized illustrations to engage the reader,” she adds.

Once the project is done, Anupriya plans to pitch it to schools and NGOs. “I have tried to make the booklet cost-effective to enable in-house printing,” she says, adding that she also plans to make a printable version of the booklet available online as well. “I want to reach as many girls as possible,” she says.

Anupriya says she couldn’t have done it without the help and constructive criticism of her guide, visual narratives professor Taran Deep Girdher. Girdher says Anupriya’s choice of project surprised him.

‘I wondered why no one had thought of doing it before. This is the first time that girls will directly be getting first-hand information about such a sensitive topic,” he says, adding that he has asked her to consider her booklet as a pilot, which can be developed further.

Original link: http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/article/3/2013041220130412022704171c374db10/%E2%80%98No-more-halfbaked-info-on-puberty%E2%80%99.html

Published by Ahmedabad Mirror (Times Group) on April 12, 2013.

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