When their usually bubbly 8-year old began to withdraw herself, Lamia's (alias) parents thought it to be only a passing phase. But soon Lamia was waking up in the middle of the night, screaming from nightmares and crying incessantly.
Her parents were alarmed and took her to a counsellor only to discover that a close relative had been inappropriately touching their child for the last few months.
Lamia was fortunate that her parents cut off their ties with the relative and ensured that she could heal from the trauma. But there are numerous parents out there who are oblivious of molestation and abuse of their children.
As a result, their children too are unaware of these things. Educational institutions and textbooks also lack in providing students with proper guidelines on these issues.
Yellow Brick Road (YBR), an organisation formed in 2015, provides trainings, workshops and one to one sessions to young children, adolescents, parents and teachers on violence and protection, comprehensive sexuality education, bullying, body image, gender equality among others.
"When I was in the UK, I saw that PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) Education was mandatory for all schools to teach. The curriculum is also age-specific so a toddler and a teenager are taught differently," said Farin Daulah, co-founder and managing director of YBR.
She received her degree in education and English from the UK. She is also an adjunct faculty at North South University.
After coming back to Bangladesh, she felt the need for something similar that children and their guardians alike could be taught. A mother of two and a teacher, Farin knew the importance of teaching life skills education for young minds.
"One of the biggest misconceptions in our society is that child abuse or molestation is a new issue. But these also happened in the earlier days, only difference is that back then these remained unacknowledged and unaddressed," said Farin.
The sessions are designed according to the age group, educational and social backgrounds of the participants. The workshops are held in venues across Dhaka where counsellors along with mentors and trainers from other organisations also sometimes take part. Participants can view pamphlets, power point slides, and info graphics to have better understanding of the sessions.
"We teach both of our male and female participants on menstruation because boys need to know about the female reproductive system as well. In our society, we see girls being fiercely protected from a young age but unwanted incidents are the same with boys. So we also teach parents how to protect their male children," she said.
Farin shared one of her experiences, "During one of our sessions at a university, a student told us that it is in the male nature to be more abusive. His statement was unexpected but revelations such as these help us design more effective sessions."
So far YBR has worked with 670 teachers, 88 schools, and has engaged with 364 parents, 11,900 adolescents and 6,500 youths in the country. With five working staff and a pool of volunteers, the organisation's vision is for every single adolescent and youth of Bangladesh to become emotionally balanced, self-aware, resilient and also well-informed about life choices.