Monday, 14 November 2011

Learning to Care n Protect

Children of "Open Shelter", one of our projects on under privileged children

"Child labour and poverty is inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labour of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time." ------- Grace Abbott.

How true! Working under various projects to protect children's rights, over a decade, it has been disheartening to witness the violation of these rights, even after coming a long way armed with Acts like The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, as amended in 2006, to consolidate and amend the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs and by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation through various institutions established under this enactment.

Pretty ones from our "Kalyani Nivas", a shelter home for girls.

Sadly, even today some people see children as mere property rather than as human beings. Many wars for children's rights have been fought and won in the past -- child labour laws protecting children from having to work long hours in unsafe conditions, public education allowing all children to have access to learning and laws preventing child abuse. But there is still much left to do in protecting children's rights. How many of us working in this field are really aware of adoption guidelines for abandoned, orphaned and surrendered children laid down by CARA(Central Adoption Resource Authority), under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India? A recent case study revels how the lack of basic knowledge of adoption rules may lead to jeopardizing the rights of the child concerned. Only through legal adoption can an abandoned, orphaned or surrendered child become a legitimate child of the adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities attached to the relationship. And yet when a child is found abandoned, we remain a mute spectator while might prevails over right quite often! What meaning then has the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act?

                                                                   Abandoned baby on railway tracks

Coming a long way, armed with legal provisions and resources, we still stumble at every bend and corner while protecting a child from social hazards. What we really need at the moment, in order to protect a child from child abuse and child labour is a society that is well aware of child rights. The frightening increase in child labour has prompted the Government to amend rules. But these amendments are meaningless unless we, the people, are aware of what is happening. Awareness camps must be carried out to sensitize people about adoption of abandoned children so that one is not at a loss  when a baby is found abandoned. Not just the members of CWC (Child Welfare Committee) or SAA (Special Adoption Agency), but each citizen must be aware of their role in protecting the rights of a child. The Government must carry out more awareness programs, because safety and security do not just happen, we must collectively work towards it. Children are the most vulnerable section of the society and we owe them a much deserved life free of violence, fear, full of love and carefree happiness.

On the 122nd birth anniversary of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, while celebrating Children's Day, let us not forget those children who need our help, care and protection to survive, flourish and smile their happy smiles!

Our little ladies had so much fun on Children's Day, their smiles say it all ....


  1. Very apt post for the Children's Day, Ruprekha! But this will not stop child labour that easily, Ruprekha! The main reason for child labour is overpopulation, so no respect for human beings. Only next comes poverty.

    Population should come down, then, people might start caring for children.

  2. @ Sandhya :
    Thanks a lot. Yes, you are right, that's the major problem we have here. And Population has no doubt come down in a certain section of people of the society, but you get to see the worst scenario with the bpl, which seem to add to the horrifying increase in number. Hence, working in this field is most often quite disheartening.

  3. I am strongly against the childrens days being on 14th november.. after a politcian who is not a role model..
    but childrens day should be used to look after the children not otherwise.. There is a lot that needs doing and spending money on useless functions is not the way to go ahead...

    People need to be educated that if they cant look after their kids then they should not have them ...
    Parents need education

    eradicate poverty SO much needs to be done


  4. I think adopting a child should be made easier and people should come forward to do it. I know certain couples who would wait for many years, who would be ready to do an IVF, but they would not adopt a kid. Even if they do, they adopt their sisters son/ brothers son, etc. I wish society was more open to adopting kids than it is now.

    Destination Infinity

  5. Very right, Ruprekha! So many of us educated folks are the culprits when we sometimes exploit children or don't raise our voice against those who do. We need to look out for our kids.

  6. very informative post.. Child labor is a huge problem just like CSA-child sexual abuse

  7. Very thoughtful. The educated lot is the worst exploiter of children.

  8. It was nice to see well cared for kids at Open Shelter & Kalyani Niwas.I presume that u r working for an NGO and doing great work in the area of under privileged children's rights. Good article supported by nice photograph. Yes the awareness campaigns are critical to success of these programs. Society requires a lot more people like you with involvement,resolve & commitment to tackle important social issues like this.

  9. @ Bikramjit :

    Yes, that's exactly how we at our organization feel and hence, instead of spending money and time on useless functions, we go to the villages( different groups covering several villages), during Children's Day holding competitions among children who do not have much access to competitions on various topics like extempore speech, recitation, quiz, painting, debate etc. Distributing prizes and having a meal together while interacting with them is great fun for not only the children but us grown ups as well.
    We have too many issues and problems to tackle here. Have a really long way to go .... but we at our level, trying our best in the field of protecting child rights.
    Thanks a lot for your feed back Bikram.

  10. @ Destination Infinity :
    You are absolutely right here! We, as a society must have more awareness regarding adoption. Those who are working in this field are doing our best, although like I said "stumbling on every bend and corner". The scenario is little brighter now from the time when I started working on adoption a decade ago.
    Thanks a lot for visiting my space and your feed back.

  11. @ Rachna :
    @ Sujatha :
    @ AS :
    Thank you so much. As always being very understanding and caring, I knew you would realize the situation of these under privileged children. Yes, the problem is rather huge, but that should not discourage or deter us from working towards solving them.

  12. @ R.Ramakrishnan :
    Thank you so much for visiting and for your words of appreciation.
    Yes, we in my organization(a national level) are working on 10 different projects all inter linked with each other on child welfare, protecting child rights and causes. Often lack of glamour, poor working condition and very minimal salary discourage people to come forward to work in this field. Unless one really feels for the causes of children, it is difficult to give in one's best. How true, when you said, " .... involvement,resolve & commitment to tackle important social issues like this."