Academic journal article The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work

PART ONE: Cricket Team of Life

Academic journal article The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work

PART ONE: Cricket Team of Life

Article excerpt

Don't lose hope... give yourself into the game no matter what Young participant of the Cricket Team of Life

How can we respond to boys in conflict with the Law, aged seven to sixteen, once they have entered the Juvenile Justice system in India? What opportunity, if any, does the short incarceration in the Observation Homes (several days or weeks) provide for psychological, emotional and social rehabilitation? When it is time for these boys to leave the Home, could they think differently about themselves and their future possibilities?

Prayas Observation Home for Boys is a home where boy juvenile offenders, aged ten to sixteen years, are observed at the discretion of the Juvenile Justice Court in Delhi, India The committed care-workers of Prayas Observation Home already offer skill development in crafts such as needle-work, sewing, painting and kitchen skills. However POHB were enthusiastic when the resident psychologist, Srishti Sardana, and Louise Carmichael, consultant trainer, opened up a conversation about what might be possible in relation to emotional and psychological rehabilitation.

We believe that the short-term incarceration of the boys in Homes may represent an opportunity to begin a process of re-authoring identities for the boys. To make it possible for hidden stories to become visible, a narrative approach called the Cricket Team of Life was specifically adapted for this context.

About the Team oj Life

* The Team of Life is a folk cultural narrative methodology developed by David Denborough to enable young people to talk about their lives through sporting metaphors. The Team of Life approach was originally developed using football metaphors with former child soldiers in Uganda (see Denborough 2008; www.dulwichcentre.com.au/team-of-life.htmlj. With cricket being so embraced by young men in India, it was felt most appropriate to use a cricket metaphor in this context. The full version of the Cricket Team of Life is outlined by on pages 74 - 80 of this publication,

The first Cricket Team of Life in India

Facilitators were Srishti Sardana, Mashreeb Aryal, and Louise Carmichael,

In September 2013, a psychosocial rehabilitation workshop was held within Prayas Observation Home for Boys. While we had a very small window of time with the boys of just four days, this brief interaction represented a significant opportunity. We adapted the Cricket Team of Life process to work in a culturally appropriate way within a number of constraints:

* Since the most common time period juveniles are held in Prayas Observation Home, as ordered by the Juvenile Magistrates Court, is between two days and two weeks, we decided to attempt a brief five-day group-work intervention to include as many of the boys as possible. Unfortunately, almost half the boys received court orders before the process had finished, which led to an earlier than anticipated end to the process.

* Prayas workers were able to work with us on restricted availability only, as other work demands continued to take priority. This impacted the hours we had to work with the boys, considerably reducing contact time with the group to just one-and-a-half hours a day on average.

Here we will describe the workshops, the methodologies and the reflective process, and include collective documents created out of the boys' own words. These words were spoken in conversations about cricket and how cricket reminds the boys of their own lives and what is important to them. Stories were recorded about what helps the boys 'win' in life and in cricket, what they value in both cricket and in life, and how to keep in alignment with those values. While we were unable to complete all parts of the Cricket Team of Life process, we did share some quite profound experiences.

Session One: Lef's play Cricket!

The first day we played a game of cricket with two teams of eleven players each, a scoreboard and an umpire. We were careful that no staffassumed leadership. …

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