In the backdrop of the increase in atrocities against women, an organisation in Kochi has been trying to make life easy for school and college students for over a decade.
The Adolescent Health Education (AHE) programme by the Cochin Obstetric and Gynaecological Society (COGS) is where students feel free to represent their problems thereby getting an assurance of an authoritative and safe remedy for their queries. “It all started 10 years back when I was practising in city hospital,” said Dr Gracy Thomas, chairperson, AHE.
“Back then, each day I came across a number of pre-marital abortion cases and it was then that I decided to start AHE for students. Now, I am fully involved in this project, dropping my daily hospital practise,” she said.
By now, AHE has come to the aid of over 400 high school students across the city. It has covered almost all private and government schools, along with a few colleges.
In this age of technology, which can easily push students towards a wavered life that will affect their personality and growth, the AHE’s effort is to make them aware of the pitfalls around them.
A gynaecologist and a psychologist or counsellor, if the student need it, will be provided by AHE.
“Within two hours of class, various aspects of reproductive system, the physiological, psychological and emotional changes they undergo as they grow up, the importance of hygiene and diet, and ill the effects of alcohol and drugs are discussed. The AHE also openly discuss with students issues which are taboo in our society, like misuse of children and sexually-transmitted disease,” said Dr Gracy.
According to her, the increase in sex-related crimes is the result of lack of proper counselling among students. “What students need is counselling, not punishments. They just don’t know how far to go in a relationship,” she said and added that the AHE counseling has helped to recover many students who were victims of child abuse or drugs.