In India, child sexual abuse (CSA) happens at such a high rate that it may be safe to call it an epidemic. According to the widely cited 2007 study by Ministry of Women and Child Development, 53% of children in India experience one or more forms of sexual abuse before they turn 18 years old. Professionals working against the issue vouch for this figure being even higher. Yet, there is a limited understanding among adults about the gravity of the issue and effective ways of preventing and sensitively responding to it.
To this end, HEAL (Help Eradicate Abuse through Learning), emerged as a project from the passion and concern of the people working at The Foundation, with an aim to fight against child sexual abuse in India.
In 2017, HEAL grew into an independent NGO, though remaining under the ideological umbrella of The Foundation.
Through its work, HEAL establishes child sexual abuse (CSA) as an issue that can no longer be ignored within homes, schools, communities, as well as in the state and national policies on child protection. Given the fact that an abuser can be anyone, it calls for adults to learn how to identify, confront and prevent abusive behaviours, as well as understand the developmental challenges sexually abusive behaviours may pose for children.
At HEAL we envision a community that upholds, understands and values the rights of its children by protecting them from sexual abuse.
To prevent sexual abuse of children through the tool of education. We aim to enable all involved to understand, recognize, learn preventive methods and respond sensitively to child sexual abuse.
“There are few atrocities worse than child sexual abuse because it robs a child of trust, innocence and essence of wonder. In India, more than half of our children have been sexually abused. The only way CSA can be eradicated is to remove the veil of silence, educate and be vigilant.
Meet the team
Formed in 2006, his NGO, ‘The Foundation’, works with children from underserved areas of India, and his second NGO, HEAL works to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. Described as the ‘Indian art house icon’, by TIME magazine, Rahul Bose won the Best Actor award at the Singapore Film Festival in 2000 for his performance in ‘Split Wide Open’. In 2002, at the Palm Springs Festival, he was awarded the runner-up prize of the John Schlesinger award for Best Debut Director for ‘Everybody Says I’m Fine!’.
In 2009 he was voted the Indian Youth Icon of the Year – Social Justice. In 2010, he was awarded the Green Globe award for his work on climate change. In 2012 he was awarded NDTV’s Celebrity Sports Activist of the Year. In the same year, on India’s Independence Day, Rahul was conferred the Lt. Governor’s Commendation Award for Services to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.In 2013 he was awarded the Hakim Khan Sur award for his work towards National Integration by the Maharana of Mewar Foundation. In 2014 , Rahul was named on the prestigious Executive Council of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ National Foundation for Communal Harmony. In 2015 he was named GQ’s Philanthropist of the Year.
A former international rugby player, Rahul represented India for eleven years, retiring from the Indian team in 2009. A prolific speaker, he has lectured on leadership, gender equality and Indian cinema at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, MIT, Columbia and Cornell University amongst others.
Anuradha Bose is a trustee of HEAL since 2012.
Suchismita Bose Anjana
Suchismita Bose has completed her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Delhi University. She has already proved her worth as a psychologist in the Delhi Psychiatry Centre in Delhi and the Masina Hospital in Mumbai. Having been taught by few of the best people in business, Suchismita brings a warmth and personal touch to her work. “Suchi is fantastic. When I hired her she had an enormous amount of spark and intelligence. She has since showed all of us at The Foundation that this combination comes with a wicked sense of humour, tremendous integrity and a capacity to learn. Every organization should be so lucky!”, says Rahul.
Ms. Janvi Thakkar
She has completed her MA. In Clinical Psychology and has received specialized training in Animal-assisted therapy, Art-based therapy and Play therapy. She has worked extensively with children, including children with special needs at various organizations across Mumbai, ranging from hospitals, remand home, rehabilitation centers and special schools. Apart from being a Psychotherapist, she also is a guest lecturer at Nirmalaniketan College of Social Work and conducts workshops at St. Xavier’s college (Mumbai) and a Life skills trainer.
She has been associated with HEAL since 2017 as an intern, has been a part of quantitative data analysis for UNICEF Project on CSA. She has also been a facilitator for conducting prevention of CSA workshops and now has been serving as a Program Manager. Her aim is to build safe spaces for children and improve their quality of life.