In today’s world, of vital importance is that youth gain confidence and the ability to be able to decide from right and wrong. It is therefore of crucial importance to positively focus on building on their internal strengths and assets.  This translates to the need for adolescents to develop life skills for gaining positive and adaptive attitudes and behaviors that can help them make decisions and manage the various challenges of their lives.

What are life skills; WHO defines life skills as ‘the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life’.  According to UNICEF, life skills based education is a behavior development or behavior change approach to bring about balance in three areas: knowledge, attitude and skills.

As part of a larger youth development program, Kalanjiyam’s Vanavil project will focus on building essential life skills among adolescent girls in our villages.  The goal of the Vanavil project is to enable these young women to gain self awareness, social and emotional coping skills for building their internal assets and other life skills required for better decision making, managing problems/ conflict and facing realities of life.

Adolescence is a very turbulent period during development when young women begin the journey towards self awareness.  Very fittingly, Vanavil in Tamil refers to the rainbow, as it is largely a rainbow of emotions that rule our lives.

The Vanavil project will address the key areas of life skills:  thinking or cognitive skills, social skills and emotional coping skills.  The different skills that are comprised within these areas include problem solving, critical thinking, communication skills, decision making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationship, negotiation skills, self-awareness, empathy, coping with emotions and stress etc.   Through various different activities the Vanavil project will work with the young women to increase their awareness, challenge them to think more critically about themselves and their environment, learn how to cope with their feelings and emotions, gaining control and achieving balance in their lives.