22 Jan 2011

CHILDLINE @ Standard Chartered Marathon 2011

The Standard Chartered Marathon 2011 saw a great deal of enthusiasm and vigor not only from those who support CHILDLINE but by the children themselves. The Mumbai Marathon proves to be a platform for CHILDLINE in more ways that one. It is an opportunity to raise funds for underprivileged children, create a sense of unity amongst those supporting our cause and allow interaction with children who have benefited from their philanthropy.

This year a total of 325 zealous individuals walked and ran to support CHILDLINE. The children too, participated in the Dream Run and walked enthusiastically to the finish line.
Of these ardent supporters, Star TV, Vodafone, Sanofi Aventis, TATA AIG and DSP Bankam ran for the Corporate challenge teams whilst MHFC (Micro Housing Finance Corporation), Marvel, Serum, Sampark, Viacom, RBS, Deloitte and Search Quest ran with the CHILDLINE team.

While the CHILDLINE team and the playful children chanted 1098 slogans with Shobhaa De (writer, journalist) to complete the race, the Half Marathon runners were already nearing the finish line. Amongst them were Sunil Rawlani (VP, HDFC Insurance), Madhusudhan Menon (MHFC), Gurpreet Singh, Tasneem Lakdawala, T.J.Matthew, Nikhil Kejriwal and CHILDLINE's very own Brijesh and Sudeesh!

The cartoon character Dora, the Marvel enthusiasts dressed in customized phone suits and the MHFC house model were also a part of the Marathon madness and enjoyment for the children.The race ended with the sun beating down on us. The furor amongst the supporters that we witnessed on this day will always be etched in our memory. We hope to see the CHILDLINE family and many more next year.

20 Jan 2011

CHILDLINE Kochi unearths bonded Labor

Sahil, Gulrukh, Faizan and Atul, all below 14 yrs, from Uttar Pradesh came to work in a bag making unit in Kochi. They belong to a lower socio-economic background and family was completely dependent on their earning. The neighbours in the bag making unit heard cries of the children at night and contacted CHILDLINE 1098. CHILDLINE Kochi received a call from a concerned adult saying that four children under 14 are working in bag making unit in Dharusalam Lane

CHILDLINE team discussed comprehensive plan for the rescue operation with Kasaba Police. The Police assured all support for the rescue. On September 22, 2010, CHILDLINE and the Police rescued four children, two of them less than ten years old and the others less than 14, working in a bag making unit. During the raid, CHILDLINE team member found that the employer had been illtreating the children. The owner of the bag-making unit didn't provide any facilities or support to them but had been treating the children harshly. The condition in the bag-making unit was unhealthy and children were engaged in hazardous job.

After winning their trust and establishing a rapport with them, CHILDLINE team took them for their medical checkup. Children were produced before the Child Welfare Committee and then shifted to the temporary shelter. The inquiries by the Police and CHILDLINE commenced to find whether the children came from the same village as the owners and trace their parents. The case is being followed up and further investigation is going on.

15 Jan 2011

CSA workshop: Volunteers from Different Walks Of Life Unite for CSA Awareness

The first of the three workshops for training volunteers in Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) awareness saw participation from 28 enthusiastic volunteers, from diverse walks of life. Students, teachers and parents attended the four day workshop, while 13 resource persons took them through various aspects of CSA. The CSA awareness workshop was conducted at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) International House, Mumbai Central from 12 th January to the 14 th January, culminating in a practical training session on 15 th January in two schools.

The principal objectives of the workshop was to equip all volunteers with an overview of CSA related issues ( knowledge) and to provide them with skills training in communication to prepare them for taking on the task of sensitising children in schools.
The workshop started with the traditional lighting of the lamp, Vidya Apte from the Forum Against Child Sexual Exploitation (FACSE), the two youngest volunteers, Anuja Mohare and Charmi Khimshia and the oldest volunteer, Roshni Bharucha did the honours.

The first session on 'Child Protection and Child Rights (CPCR)' was conducted by Nishit Kumar, Head- Communication and Strategic Initiatives, CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF). Starting with a test on 'Rights in India'; Kumar took the participants through the rights given to the Citizens of India by the Constitution, and those specific to children, while introducing them to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Dr. Asha Bajpai, Faculty Member, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) session on laws, proved to be an eye opener for the volunteers, when the fact that there is no Law specific to CSA available in India. Various laws that are currently used to cover CSA cases were discussed in detail. For clarity on the penalties awarded for cases of CSA, Dr. Bajpai used examples of the Freddy Peats case in Goa , the Swiss couple's case and the Prem Sagar case in Mumbai.

Jaya Aiyappa, a counselor and sex educator who conducted the 'Child Psychology' session, while agreeing with Dr. Mehta's care and compassion approach added, "It's crucial for parents and teachers to always 'be there' for children, believe in them and use non threatening mediums such as play therapy to help the child heal." Discussing how the impact of CSA differs on the basis of the severity, identity, duration and the age at which abuse takes place, Aiyappa also helped volunteers understand a child's feelings of guilt, shame, betrayal, powerlessness and helplessness.

Dr. Duru Shah, Chairman, Indian College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, started her session with throwing light on the 'Indicators of CSA', which she grouped into Sure indicators, Probable indicators and Near indicators. She presented two of the (FOGSI) slideshows on 'Growing up' that discussed various aspects of the female anatomy. In response to a volunteer's question about hysterectomy for mentally challenged girls, Dr. Shah responded that, hysterectomy is the last resort. There are various other solutions that we can use, before using that extreme.

Sheela Sail, Deputy Commissioner of Police-Enforcement, Mumbai Police was next and managed to put all the volunteers at ease immediately by sharing her personal number. Making details like filing a First Information Report (FIR), medical examinations and submission of charge sheets seem interesting; Sail also took the volunteers through the concurrent action the police force takes once an FIR has been filed by persons familiar with the case.

Mrs. Lata Nair, Vice Chairperson of the Parent Teacher Association United Forum (PTA United Forum) conducted the next important session for the field, while throwing light on 'The logistics of conducting a CSA session in schools.' Emphasising on a positive attitude and negotiation skills, Nair said these are the qualities that would help volunteers overcome any objections by parents and school authorities

The communication skills session conducted by Theatre Specialist, Manjul Bharadwaj and the wrap up session conducted by Trishla Jasani, Consultant Program Co-ordinator and Sneha Kupekar, Assistant Program Co-ordinator helped volunteers overcome their anxieties about the practical training session on 15 th January at the Sir J. J Boys' and Girls' High school. Bharadwaj urged the volunteers to keep in mind, a participatory approach, verbal and non- verbal communication and appreciation of the audience. His method of questioning all aspects and thoroughly involving all participants was deeply appreciated by all volunteers. 

1 Jan 2011

CHILDLINE Rourkela and CHILDLINE Delhi crack down those who employ children

Kinnari was a 16-year old girl who lived in a village in Tangarpali, Sundargarh district. Although she was an earnest student at school, she was compeled to leave, as her parents couldn’t draw in much income with their daily labour wages.

Sakir, an agent from a neighbouring village lured Kinnari’s parents into sending her to Delhi with a promising job prospect. She was deceived into working as a maid for 6 months in a household that treated her callously.
CHILDLINE Rourkela received a call from a distraught mother who was looking for her daughter gone astray. She assisted the team with details of the employer in Delhi, as her daughter had not contacted her in 6 months. In turn, CHILDLINE Delhi was contacted in order to verify the details. Once it was confirmed, the CHILDLINE Rourkela team along with Kinnari’s mother visited Delhi to bring her back. An FIR was registered against the placement agency and her employer, under section 26 and 23 of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act 2000.

A well chalked out rescue was carried out with CHILDLINE Rourkela, CHILDLINE Delhi and the Delhi Police. Kinnari was found in an appalling condition wearing torn clothes and afraid to speak. The necessary support and counseling was provided to the child before she was produced before the CWC who directed her to a Shelter Home. Subsequently, Kinnari was brought back to Rourkela in the effort to unite her with her family.

The employer was ordered to pay a compensation of Rs. 23,600 to Kinnari.