Shajitha Attaserry, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) supervisor of the Pulpetta panchayat in Malappuram dreams of turning her society into a place, where the youth are brimming with self respect and the people with kindness. It was for this mission that she chose to work at the ICDS which come under the social justice department.
Shajitha conceived the project 'Avar Paadunnu' from the realization that girls are indoctrinated with the thought that they are not as worthy as the boys, even from the level of anganwadi itself. The project was the manifestation of her idea that a sense of equality would be created only when the girls are mentally strong.
On 19th May 2015, she organized a mega song event which lasted for about 1 ½ hours, at the Pulikkal panchayat, where she was working. Around 2600 girls participated in that event which was supported by the panchayat and the social justice department as well. Shajitha even won the hearts of those who came to protest against girls singing at a public event.
Kuthivara and Kolumittayi
Shajitha came up with her next unique idea after she was motivated by MK Muneer, who was the minister of the social justice department then. ‘Kuthivara’ was aimed to inspire the little kids who went to the anganwadi. In February 2016, 1900 kids gathered at the Pulpetta panchayat to express themselves on the 500 meters long canvas. After that, she encouraged the anganwadis to come up with their special hand written magazines.
‘Kolumittayi, an informal child-friendly educational program was the latest in this series. Kids from around 41 anganwadis participated in the program which focused on imparting knowledge through the play way method. Meanwhile, she also took the initiative to arrange taekwondo classes for girls and women.
School of butterflies
Shajitha led the ‘school of butterflies’ project which aimed to make teenagers mentally strong and motivated. It offers them a chance to open up about their mistakes and change themselves without being judged or accused.
The ‘school of butterflies’ was conceptualized and popularized by the German psychoanalyst, Ruth Corn. Shajitha headed the project only after undergoing a training program offered by Dr Thomas Abraham, a faculty of the Mahatma Gandhi University. The social justice department is set to take over the project as it has proved to be extremely successful.
Shajitha (44) is the daughter of late Attaserry Muhammad and Jameela, who retired from the rural development corporation. Muhammad who believed in the leftist ideology was an advocate of gender equality and transferred it to his daughter as well. Her husband VP Aziz is one of the directors of VKC Company. Bilawal Aziz and Isba Henbel are her kids.