Three years ago, a rape case took place in Kathua, which shuddered me from inside. It was difficult to imagine a child getting sexually abused multiple times in a temple.
I was 20 at that time, and it hurt me deeply to learn about the incident. Back then, I was working on child begging eradication in Patiala, Punjab, and it distressed me to notice the increasing number of rape cases in our country. I called my friends; we discussed it at length for hours because we were so helpless at that time.
The three of us decided to work on this cause instead of just staying indifferent to what was happening around us. Finally, all three of us formed a team and started with our first session on safe/unsafe touch in a school.
Initially, when we started researching these issues, we were shocked to find out the official figures. At times, I was alone leading the campaign as my colleagues had to leave due to other priorities.
Things were going well until August 2019, when my own team turned against me, and internal issues started happening.
In January 2020, I was forced to leave the place for which I had been working for so long. Finally, I had to leave the campaign. This was in the final year of college.
I was devastated and returned home. I was disappointed over what happened and it felt like leaving the journey midway.
Last year in January, I talked to my friends Madhav and Bhumika and discussed what all happened with me. All that I knew was that I had to start and build a similar platform once again.
In my journey, I have learnt that people can take everything from you, except for your experience and empathy.
The same day, I started thinking of names for my initiative and the word 'Bachpan', meaning childhood, came to my mind. 'Bachpan' for me is an emotion, my happy place, which I cannot express much
Things were not easy to restart from scratch. That time, I was staying at my home in Panchkula, Haryana.
Since I was not in college, I could not easily find many youngsters together in one place. I decided to go out to connect with young people who wanted to work on this issue.
Travelling day and night in buses, calling schools, orphanages, colleges, and rejection were some of the things which were by my side all through. But finally last year in February, I connected with a team from PEC College in Chandigarh.
Now, we are a team of more than 40 people from different colleges and different regions. Together, we have developed more than ten programs for spreading awareness on the prevention of child sexual abuse.
To date, we have sensitised more than 2,800 individuals, and we are on our way to create a support group for child sexual abuse survivors. The journey till now has been challenging. I have made a lot of sacrifices to keep the work going.
However, when you think of making a difference to someone's childhood with your work, all your sacrifices feel worth it. That feeling keeps me going ahead on my journey to reach more children.