Children hit by Lack of Protection

Child Protection

Educational session with Street children and Child Labourers at Amherst Street, Kolkata

The constitution of India safeguards children from being exploited as labour, being trafficked and against all kinds of moral and material abandonment. Along with this the government of India ratified United Nation's Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and ILO conventions against worst form of child labour and minimum age of employment. The state of India has legally banned the engagement of children as child labour as well as child marriage.

With this update one can easily imagine of a much better situation in ground. But it did not conform so even in pre-covid situation and now in this unprecedented social and economic disruption severely impacted children are of migrant workers families, children of daily wage earners, child labourers, children in street situations, child care institutions (CCIs), or conflict zones, children in need of care and protection, children in conflict with the law, pregnant girls, children with disabilities, children living in poverty, children in abusive, violent or exploitative situations, children of sex workers and prisoners, refugee children, foreign children residing in CCIs, children affected or likely to be affected by other natural disasters, such as Amphan etc.

The lockdown period will also forever be marked by the millions of people who in a bid to survive undertook mass distress migration back to their native villages.

SPAN has been leading a National campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) till 2014 and is also an executive member of NACG – National Action Coordination Group, which is a civil society counterpart of Inter Governmental Body e.g. South Asian Initiative against Violence against Children (SAIVAC), A SAARC Body.

It does take the responsibility of leading the campaign against child labour in West Bengal by being engaged with forty other organizations across the state. In Kolkata it takes a ground level research to identify the children who were engaged in any work situation and also the children’s vulnerability situation among which they and their families are not in connection with persuasion of their education and with all probabilities will not return to schools when the schools reopen. The report on Rapid Assessment on the status of child rights during Lock down period in West Bengal has been released through an webinar which recorded more than 100 percent increase in number of child labour among school going children and considerable incidents of child marriages.

Such an in depth assessment will certainly provide an overview of the situation of children, their continuation of education and posing vulnerabilities that appear as new challenges.

SPAN directly working with the child labour living on street and railway stations in Kolkata at Dum Dum (KMC ward 4), Tala Park (KMC ward 5) and Amherst Street (KMC ward 38) with more than 100 child labourers to bring them in learning sessions and also ensuring their protection and rehabilitation.

Child Budget analysis and Budget based Advocacy on Child Rights

SPAN opened a new avenue of policy advocacy on child rights in the state through budget based advocacy. The organisation is  during the last 6 years regularly analysing the state government budget on the perspective of the child rights and publishing reports which helped the civil society in many ways to take forward their advocacy effort on the basis of budget data. The analytical report on the budget of the government of West Bengal in the perspective of child rights were shared with the government department, MPs, MLAa, Media and civil society organisations regularly. Pamphlets and leaflets on the findings of budget analysis were produced for the public to understand the government budget allocation and expenditure on child heath, child Education, child protection. Budget data was also analysed at the level of allocation and expenditure of different schemes such as SSA, ICDS, ICPS, Mid-day meal scheme, etc.

Besides analysing and reporting on the government budget SPAN also conducted two studies on the grassroot level implementation of two most important program for children. One is Sarba Shiksha Aviyan and another is Juvenile justice System and ICPS. Both the study tacked the fund flow of the implementation of these programes from state to district level and allocation and expenditure pattern. It also try to study the impact of those scheme on children at grassroot level.