Life skills education toolkit for orphans & vulnerable children in India

This toolkit, written by Dr. Sonal Zaveri for Family Health International (FHI360), focuses on a participatory approach to develop life skills in children to allow them to manage and cope with difficult and risk situations in relation to HIV/AIDS.


"Life skills refers to a large group of psychosocial and interpersonal skills that promotes mental well-being and that leads to a healthy and productive life. Health is defined as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (World Health Organization)

Life skills develop competencies and actual behaviors. They result in personal actions, actions directed to others and actions to change the surrounding environment in a healthy, safe way.

There are many definitions of life skills. The World Health Organization (WHO, 1993) defines life skills as “the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enables individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.” WHO (1994) has also identified a core set of life skills for the promotion and well being of children and adolescents."


  • Introduction to the Life Skills Education Toolkit   1-7
  • Facilitator’s Guide   1-60
  • Design of the Modules   1
  • Module Plan Overview   4
    • Module One – Getting Started  1-12
    • Module Two – Knowing Myself   1-20
    • Module Three – Communication   1-20
    • Module Four – Relationships  1-32
    • Module Five – Decision-Making  1-28
    • Module Six – Coping with Emotions   1-36
    • Module Seven – Growing Up   1-20
    • Module Eight – Preventing and Living with HIV   1-28
    • Module Nine – Substance Use   1-20
    • Module Ten – Reaching My Goals: Energizers, Warm-ups and Relaxation 1-16
  • Information Sheet 1: Children’s Rights and HIV/AIDS   15
  • Information Sheet 2: HIV/AIDS  19
  • Information Sheet 3: Sexually Transmitted Infections   21
  • Information Sheet 4: Preventing Sexual Transmission of HIV Through the ABC Approach   23
  • Information Sheet 5: HIV Information Needs of Children  27
  • Information Sheet 6: Helping Children to Cope with Grief   33
  • Information Sheet 7: Additional Warm-ups and Energizers   35
  • References for Exercises/Activities  39
  • Useful Resources/References 41


Zaveri, S. (2007). Life Skills Education Toolkit for Orphans & Vulnerable Children in India, Family Health International (FHI360), India. Retrieved from: