first_imgIn what comes as an unusual-yet-pleasant surprise, the Health Ministry of India has unveiled its latest program to educate over 26 crore adolescents in matters of mental health, consent, sexuality, gender among other things.Prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, the ministry’s Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram’s program plans to train nearly 1.65 lakh Saathiya ‘educators’ who will engage the young brigade of the country.A bid to tackle the misinformation and misconceptions that have been in circulation since the inception of time, the Health Ministry’s latest move is progressive, sane and hopeful.Also Read: 4 outfits Indian women should wear to prevent PCOD, eve-teasing and rapes From practising safe sex to homosexual attraction being a natural phenomenon, here are five things that have found mention in the resource material of the program.1. Normalcy around same-sex attraction: The resource material under Health Ministry’s scheme seeks to establish normalcy around the phenomenon of same-sex attraction. In a country where homosexuality is still considered to be a criminal offence, the ministry’s progressive stance on the concepts of same-sex attraction are both, rebellious and pleasant. According to a report in Indian Express, the material mentions that feelings of love and attraction sometimes flourish within the members of a certain gender and that’s completely normal.2. Encourages individuals to refrain from attaching gendered labels: For ages, youngsters have faced the wrath of gendered labels that promote skewed definitions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘feminity’. The ‘Saathiya’ educators will be trained to dispense knowledge about shunning stereotypes and not those associated with them. According to the material, individuals will be told that it is okay for men to cook, design and for women to indulge in sports without being labelled as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy-ish’ respectively.advertisement3. Dialogue around mental health: In today’s day and age where awareness around mental health issues has become a necessity, the program, reportedly, does the needful. The material is a breath of fresh air in a world where men venting out their emotions by means of crying are looked down upon and have to resort to more ‘masculine’ reactions such as anger and bullying.4. Consent: While 2016’s release Pink managed to stir a conversation around the concept of consent, Health Ministry’s latest move plans to take it further. The resource material mentions that mutual consent and trust are of utmost importance in any form of relationship.5. Safe sex and abortion: The need for practising safe sex, awareness around abortion and the prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) also find a mention in Saathiya’s resource material. Besides other things, the content also focuses on birth control measures for both, men and women while enlisting masturbation as the top technique for safe sex, reports Indian Express.While the effectiveness of the programme can only be gauged through its subsequent reach and implementation, the very inclusion of such provisions seem like a long overdue respite in an ecosystem that is often clouded with illogic, ignorance and stringent societal appropriation.last_img read more