Vijayawada: A three-day ‘comic workshop’ on empowering people living on the margins and express the health challenges they face day-in and day-out began on Saturday at the Chief Minister’s Urban Health Centre, Ranigaritota.
Young women and adolescent girls from all the 10 slums in the city attended the workshop, which was organised by George Institute for Global Health, an international academic research institute and supported by the HCL Foundation under its UDAY project. Six issues were identified by participants in the first round of the workshop.
These include anaemia and malnutrition, immunisation and mother, child health, sanitation, open defecation and disease burden, outreach health services, drinking water issues and eye related problems.
Story-telling through comics was conceived as a medium which could engage them in a two-way process. Given this background, the George Institute along with World Comics India initiated the use of grassroots comics story-telling as a medium of giving the community a voice through which they can talk about their challenges to start with and also map the stories of impact based on the intervention cycle.
Sharad Sharma of World Comics India, who has held a large number of grassroots comic workshops both within the country and abroad, taught the participants how to express themselves through a four-panel wall poster art form.
An elderly lady, who had never held a pencil in her hand before, was first hesitant in taking up drawing but after prodding and encouragement she not only drew a fine comic poster but was also the first one to finish. Her wall-poster comic showed how people throwing garbage from their home onto the street was the breeding ground of mosquitoes resulting in a lot of diseases and ironically their own kith and kin fall ill.
On the other hand, many young people were so eager to tell their story that before even understanding the technicalities of how to draw, they had a visual script ready. Participants were taught how to divide their story into four parts and while some finalised their wall poster comics on Saturday, others will do so on Sunday.
The storytelling session that followed had a participant narrating the complications of anaemia during pregnancy.
Mr Sharma said that further rounds of comic workshops will be held in the subsequent months to capture the behaviour change and the impact that the project has on the people.
The George Institute research assistant D. Keerthi Haripriya, communication manager Kannan Krishna Swamy, project managers Md. Abdul Ameer, G. Joseph and others were present....