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An Engaging Educational Programme Informs Children About Staying Safe During Natural Disasters

ELFA International

The state of Jammu and Kashmir witnesses many natural disasters making it essential for young people, including children, to be equipped with essential knowledge and skills about safety, being prepared for disasters, and first aid. Elfa International is an NGO working in Jammu and Kashmir. Their work focuses on bringing positive changes in the lives of youth, women, children and other vulnerable groups by promoting access to quality inclusive education, livelihood, income-generating opportunities, and social and economic dignity. As part of their efforts towards improving school safety, disaster risk reduction, and child protection, the organisation organises programmes in schools, colleges, and other educational institutions on various topics. These topics include finding safe spaces during a disaster, using fire extinguishers, providing first aid to someone in need, as well as how one can communicate effectively during times of crisis etc. 


In addition to working with children, Elfa International also organised training sessions with community members, school authorities, government officials and other relevant decision-makers. Including these groups in the process ensures that all relevant stakeholders are working together in the same direction. 


Muntazir feels that it is essential for children to have basic survival skills such as using a fire extinguisher properly.  In the normal course of events, the students in his school would not have access to this information. He is all the more impressed with these programs because they continue to engage children and capture their attention. Children seem to look forward to participating in these sessions and learning more. He is also happy about the self-explanatory and easy-to-understand posters and charts that the organisation has provided schools with. These materials work as daily reminders for children even when there isn’t an active session taking place. Muntazir has noticed that the students themselves are taking the initiative to go to their parents, family members, and neighbours with these messages. 


In his many years as a teacher, Muntazir has found that it is effective to use play and fun activities to teach complicated messages. Muntazir looks forward to more such programmes for child safety and hopes that more schools across the state can benefit from them.

“ I have noticed a marked difference in children’s understanding of disaster management and resilience after Elfa International started their programmes. This is very important in a place like Kashmir where we have to deal with many natural disasters ” says Muntazir Munir a government school teacher in the Bandipur district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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