The six-month programme aims to democratise counselling, while ensuring it doesn’t just stick to the narrow Western perspective most people follow in India.

This Bengaluru college hopes to make counselling more accessible and inclusiveBaduku College website
news Education Saturday, August 11, 2018 - 18:48

Bengaluru’s Baduku Community College is launching a 6-month Diploma in Counselling for Women's Wellness and Justice. Activists working for the welfare of women become quasi-counsellors and this course aims to enable them with the skills required to counsel and guide these women.

The course started off as a barefoot-counselling programme in 2009. Seeing how popular it was, the college, founded by Samvada, introduced a one-month Kannada programme and a three-month English programme, which then evolved into this six-month course.

This course also aims to make people understand the broader social systems people operate under, such as caste, gender, religion, etc. We also aim to approach the counselling through a feminist perspective. You may not be able to help someone work their way through an issue unless you yourself know how something like gender works,” says Nitya Vasudevan, co-convener of Centre for Wellness and Justice, and convenor of the Kannada and Knowledge Resource Centre.

“Moreover counselling isn’t yet a democratised field. It is expensive and is not very easily available. Mental health issues are viewed as an elite problem -- it’s for the rich, it’s not for everyone in India. Hence, even those who are in need of assistance don’t usually get it. They don’t get it through government programmes and private programmes are usually too expensive,” she adds.

Through this course, she hopes, more people are exposed to the idea of counselling. And with more counsellors on the field, the easier access becomes.

“Counselling is also very narrowly defined usually based on Western theories. We are trying to broaden this perspective...This way we can also question counselling, as much as teach it. So what are the critiques of counselling, and what way we can change it,” says Nitya.

The faculty includes practising counsellors and professors, who can help students understand both the theory and practical side of things.

The course includes a one month-long internship, where students can get a taste of the kind of work they are likely to be doing in the future, and placements will be held at the end, allowing them to access jobs.

Baduku College is expecting to see around 35 students enrol for the full-time programme -- in fact, Nitya says the college places emphasis on diversity, and students from marginalised communities are likely to get an edge over others. However, the course does require students to have studied related fields or have some work experience in it.

Baduku Community College mainly focuses on youth and women from marginalised communities, who may not have the resources to complete their formal education. It runs a variety of courses -- from training teachers to sustainable farming to journalism -- in a flexible format, allowing more people to access education.

To apply, you can write to cwj.baduku@gmail.com; or call 080 41674949.

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