20 Jun 2011

CHILDLINE is 15 today, June 20, 2011

Voices from 1996:

Didi theres a fight on the station. . . can you come!”  
Raju is bleeding the hospital will not admit him. . . please come!”  
Will you be there for us when we need you? Early in the morning. . . and late in the night?” 
We roam ten cities. What can you do for us?  It costs money to make a call. What happens when we are broke”.
We know there are people doing things for children but don’t know where to go.”

Jeroo Bilimoria

Jeroo Bilimoria, a faculty member  of TISS, was also running MelJol, a community-based school program for building citizenship among children, approached Dr. Armaity Desai, her mentor, and Director of TISS.

Could TISS incubate a Tele- Helpline for street children?
Yes, but no new buildings or institutions. A new methodology would have to be evolved to work with resources that already existed. And for sure no phones would ring inside TISS.”

Dr. Armaity Desai

Needed first: an access line - a one-point contact that would quickly connect children to concrete, real-time services that they need during or after a crisis. Once, the urgent, emergency services were provided, the Helpline would counsel the child further and ask if she needed more support. It would open up a bouquet of long-term, rehabilitation services for her to avail. The tele-helpline would reach out to children.Impact depends on awareness of how to use a phone to demand protection and rights. Outreach and public education critical. The Helpline would align- for the first time ever- all  Children’s Service Organizations working with Mumbai children into one service hub. CSOs would coordinate to ensure that children accessed relevant outfits at critical times, depending on the kind of support they needed.

Dus… Nau… Aath !”

Street Children designed and conducted a needs assessment study with 500 peers using a pictographic questionnaire.

Would their friends use a phone service run by street youth: Why? When? Where? What would be their expectations? “Yes , they would”! 

1993- letter to MTNL for a number. 1996- After two dharnas (agitations) by the children, and the threat of a hunger strike, the national toll-free number—1098—was allotted.
Father Placie Fonseca, Director of Snehasadan, friend and mentor to hundreds of Mumbai children, suggested CHILDLINE. The children gave their approval. The helpline had a name: CHILDLINE –1098

Dus..Nau..Aath”- came from the Children
Logo concept from Street children: a bindaas (carefree) child . Designed as Amul Boy’s twin by Eustace Fernandes.

CHILDLINE inaugurated: June 20 1996 as an experimental project of the Department of Family and Child Welfare, TISS in collaboration with Snehsadan and the Vatsalya Foundation. The Dorabji Tata Trust provided the start-up resources. 5 support (Asara, Bandra East community centre, Hamara club, Premsagar, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action(YUVA) and 7 resource organizations ( Co-ordination committee for Vulnerable children(CCVC), National Addiction Research Centre (NARC), Project Mainstream, Salam Balak Trust, Shakti and UNICEF.

Calls in the first year: June 20,’96 – June ‘97: 6618 calls- 5760 ‘fun calls’:
                - 858 assistance calls of which medical was 68.53%;
                - 590 calls were from railway stations,
                - 52.56% were during night time,
                - maximum calls in Sept/Oct;
                - 34.50% were from street children,
                - 67% from age group 10-18yrs.

Some cases:
15th June 1996: Aslam, street child referrd Vijay Kumar (Mahadeo) Visvakarma, 12 yrs at 11 PM – hospitalized, determined as Blood cancer- Leukemia.
16th June 1996: Subhash, 16 years, Jaundice.
13th Sept 1996: Padmakar, 16 yrs, TB.
13th Oct 1996: Anamik, open wound on amputed leg- refused for treatment by JJ hospital and GT , finally treated and reabillitated.
25th Dec 1996: Babloo, 14 years, TB, refused treatment by hospitals, Died in 2 weeks.

Today on June 20th, 2011:

The CHILDLINE service is available in 148 cities including half a dozen districts across 26 states. 2.5 million calls are serviced annually. As of March this year we had crossed 21 million calls. About 2.5 million children have received direct intervention over the years.
However, poised as we are on the threshold of the 12th five year plan commencing April 2012, we are bracing to cover all 640 districts of India, knowing we would then service about 8 million calls annually with 1.5 million direct intervention cases a year, and have a network of 2500 partner organizations and over 15,000 CHILDLINE team members across the country.

16 Jun 2011

IMPACT DAY celebrations: leaving an impact on young minds

This year's Deloitte IMPACT Day, celebrated on June 10, 2011, very accurately symbolised what the day stands for- 'an important act'. For this act since past four years the company is joining hands with CHILDLINE to help kids in distress.

40 committed employees of Deloitte hopped off a bus at the Mankhurd Government Shelter Home on a rainy June morning, to spend the day with children less privileged than themselves. As their blue t-shirts stated ‘Community- It’s our business’, these vibrant individuals set forth to make this vision a reality.

The day was well- planned. While the Deloitte employees prepared for the list of activities to be conducted during the course of the day, the children interacted with CHILDLINE employees. They introduced themselves, sang the 1098 song and narrated stories and poems they had learnt very proudly!

The children were then divided into groups at both the girls and boys shelter homes. They played games, sport activities, danced and built a bond with the employees. This was followed by a drawing and painting competition where crayons and colours were distributed to the children to allow a flow of their creativity. Toothbrushes, mugs, towels, handkerchiefs etc were distributed amongst the children while discussing basic methods of hygiene and sanitation.  CHILDLINE employees pinned CHILDLINE badges to the children and the Deloitte employees.

The highlight of the day was the yoga and meditation session. The mischievous and restless children were calmly following instructions by the meditation in-charge. They sat with their eyes closed and chanted to the soothing music playing in the background.

While the children meditated, the employees painted a room in the boys’ shelter home with giant sized cartoon characters. The civil work, plastering and painting for this room and begun a month before IMPACT DAY. The condition of the shelter home urged Deloitte to adopt one room and refurbish it in order to create a better home for the children. The painted cartoon characters added colour and life to the once mundane room.

What began as a rainy day, ended with a bunch of smiling children and a group of satisfied employees.

We are certain that the relationship CHILDLINE has nurtured with Deloitte over the last few years is a long-lasting one.

8 Jun 2011

CHILDLINE Indore and Police department work together to rescue Aarti from Child labour

In a rather complex case, little Aarti, was rescued by CHILDLINE team and Police officials. Aarti who wanted to go back home, but locked her in a room by the employer who force her to work. She was not provided with proper food and facilities. The girl continuously screamed and requested to leave her or send back to her home. The timely intervention of CHILDLINE and proper coordination with Police, Labor and C.W.C saved the little Aarti.The case started with a complaint from a concerned adult send by email to the Police Department. He informed the police about a girl who has been illegally brought from Bihar and kept at home as a maid. He complainant also informed that the case looks like more of a bonded labour and requested to rescue the girl as soon as possible. The informer also provided name and address of the accused people.

After receiving the information, the police sent a constable for the enquiry and found the complaint as true. Mr. Vineet kapoor, Additional S.P requested CHILDLINE Indore for helping into the process. The police department and CHILDLINE Indore held a meeting for further process. Mr. Deepesh Choukse, CHILDLINE City Coordinator met the Vijaynagar Police Incharge and discussed the case. CHILDLINE coordinated the case with M.I.G police station and conducted a meeting. The meeting resulted in formation of a rescue team consisting of a Sub Inspector, female Constable, two male constables, a CHILDLINE representative, CHILDLINE City Coordinator, and a representative from other N.G.O.

The rescue team reached the spot and rescued the girl. The team found Aarti, in a horrific condition, wearing torn clothes and seemed to have been forced to perform domestic work for long hours. F.I.R was registered with the M.I.G police station and CWC was informed. After the rescue the girl was afraid and unable to speak in M.I.G police station, CHLDLINE representative contacted CWC who ordered to keep Aarti in Special Home for Girls in Pardesipura. CHILDLINE coordinator was in touch with A.S.P, other police officials, C.W.C for rehabilitation of throughout the process. The next day C.W.C. conducted a meeting in Special Home for girls and decided to contact Aarti's parents in Bihar. All the procedure was completed in two to three days because of timely cooperation of C.W.C and proper coordination between Police, CHILDLINE and C.W.C.The Police department informed other N.G.O's, Labour Department and CHIDLINE for timely action. A team from Labour department visited the Girls Home next for meeting with the girl and know her condition.

During the process, the family members of the child kept opposing the police and CHILDLINE. After rescue operation the detainers brought many people and family members for forcing the police. But some of the family members secretly supported the police in the procedure and gave their consent in taking action against the Jha couple. The neighbour Mr. Rajesh Arora also provided proper cooperation to rescue team during the raid.

CHILDLINE team member visited all the three police stations namely Vijaynagar, Khajrana and M.I.G. for further action. After all the action parents of the girls were called from Dhokli Dham, Bihar. C.W.C and police department conducted a meeting and discussed the matter with the parents. Afterwards parents were convinced to take the girl back with them and keep her properly. Now the girl Aarti is with her parents in Bihar. Police, C.W.C and CHILDLINE in touch with the Aarti's parents for proper follow up.

5 Jun 2011

The joy of reunion - CHILDLINE Bhopal brings Chottu back to his family

The story of runaway children from Bhopal seems to have become commonplace. One such story is that of Chottu, a 10- year old lad who ran away from home after being scolded by his father.

In September, 2010, CHILDLINE Bhopal received a call from an individual who had been observing a child roaming the streets. The team immediately reached the child and brought him to the CHILDLINE Centre.

A lot of coaxing and rapport building during the counseling session led Chottu to reveal the real reason he had run away from home. After living away from home, he expressed his longing to return home to his parents. Chottu was then brought before the CWC who directed him to Umeed Home. After much back and forth action, the team was able to locate his home and repatriate Chottu with his family.