Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Grassroots self-advocacy for children through self-created comics

The Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) is the largest non-profit health care provider in India after the Indian Government. CHAI joined Grassroots Comics in a project that teaches children with various disabilities how to develop and produce hand-drawn comics on paper as a medium for self-expression and a tool for self-advocacy. The Grassroots Comics movement was initiated by World Comics India, and CHAI has been trained to develop the grassroots comics. Since 2016, more than 1,000 Grassroots Comics have been created by children with disabilities in India each year.

“An innovative, cost-effective, and replicable method that provides great opportunity for direct representation of children and youngsters with disabilities.”

Vishal GuptaSenior Programme Manager
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Grassroots Comics
Organisation:Catholic Health Association of India
Country
of Implementation
India/ 8 states
Start Year2015

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Children from eight out of India’s 29 states have participated.
  • Some 1,500 comics were created in 2018.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Children with disabilities in India – especially those living in rural areas – lack access to education, housing, and sanitation; experience exclusion from families and communities; and have limited opportunities to express themselves.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Grassroots Comics offers an alternative form of communication that allows children with disabilities to express their personalities and opinions. The children begin with four days of comic development training with attendants to help in translation, communication, and articulation of the issues. The training starts with a brainstorming session about the word “disability,” and the children then learn some examples on how to draw the human head and how to make drawings more expressive by adding text balloons. After this initial training, children draw their own story on paper, including the various narrative elements such as an introduction, development, drama/plot twist, and conclusion. After the completion of training, children are encouraged to train other children with disabilities in their communities.

The A3-sized (30 x 42 cm) comics are displayed in various locations in the children’s communities; and CHAI compiles booklets of these comics, which are sent to government officials and other stakeholders.

The number of comics produced annually has steadily grown, from about 1,000 in 2016 to 1,500 in 2018.

A project participant draws Comics, while being supported by a peer support woman.

Drawing your own comics with peer support.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK AND TRANSFERABILITY

The cost of setting up Grassroots Comics in 2015 was $64,000, which included training sessions, producing the comics, a communications campaign, and monitoring. The Liliane Foundation covered about 90 per cent of the costs, and CHAI, as implementing partner, covered the remainder. Since then is has been integrated into CHAI´s regular budget, without requiring additional funds.

The comics themselves are inexpensive to produce, using locally available resources such as pens, paper, and a photocopier machine.

CHAI has trained other organizations to replicate the practice, and as of 2018 the project has been successfully undertaken with CHAI’s partner organizations in eight out of 29 states in India. Going forward, the NGO plans to replicate the practice with 60 more partner organizations across India.

 

FACTSHEET

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LINKS AND FURTHER READING