Network for Ensuring Adolescents Reproductive Health, Right and Services (NEARS) has been working to create awareness on adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights and services (ASRHR), since 2004. It is a platform to foster rights and services to adolescents by providing them with information on SRHR, and help boost their self-confidence by raising awareness on sexual rights, irrespective of gender, caste, social status, and race.
With its vision to help and serve all adolescents and provide them with adequate services and ASRHR programmes, NEARS has been working with over 85 organisations, including policymakers, platforms, civil society members, non-government organisations, and corporate sectors. It wishes to become the voice of youngsters and build a society free from all sexual taboos, violence, and misconceptions regarding menstruation, STI/HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, coercion, delinquency, exploitation, deprivation, repression, abduction, and trafficking.
Focusing speaking of the importance and necessity of sex education among the youth population, Imtiaz Pavel, Vice President of NEARS says, “When a young girl starts her period, or when a boy starts experiencing his night-fall, their body and mind is going through an extremely important change. In my 12 years in this arena, I have felt certain shyness among these youngsters when it comes to asking questions regarding these sexual changes, as elders barely discuss these issues with them. I believe, through NEARS, I can reach out to these minds and help them understand their body, mind, and soul.”
NEARS also works with drug addiction, sex-work, and rape. “Organisations who work to promote awareness related to the use of contraceptives, menstrual hygiene, family planning, manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), rape, abuse or sexual violence are all part of the NEARS network. They all function together and design campaigns, seminars, and interactive workshops where youths can share their queries without fear or discomfort,” Imtiaz adds.
Believing that a child should be borne by choice, not by chance, NEARS tends to play the role of a resource hub for information, assistance, and medical counselling. They also teach life skills and self-defence to ensure the safety of individuals.
NEARS have successfully managed to cover 32 districts and is planning to cover all 64 districts soon. They welcome all active organisations and members to join their initiative.