To revitalise a community’s needs and bring its children out of the circumstances of difficulty, governments, civil society, and concerned citizens must play a united role. As key essential stakeholders, they have a vested responsibility to help India’s biggest, and most marginalised community, its children. India’s children face life-changing difficulties at every stage of their life, even at birth. They must be aided by strategic and consistent intervention by NGO workers, in the form of on-ground support and activism to give every child a better future.
Here is why NGOs are important for child development.
1. Eliminating child labour:
Millions of children are engaged in gruelling 14-16 hour shifts in industries like farming, stone cutting embroidery, and mining. Among the 74 countries with ’significant incidence of critical working conditions’ (US Department of Labor report – ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor), India finds mention. To address child labour, NGOs work with trade organisation to educate businesses about the evils of child labour. The NGO also reaches out to locals in villages and cities, instructing them to report child labour. Save the Children has been able to provide compelling evidence that forms the basis of legislation as a means of advocacy for stronger anti-child labour laws. The NGO’s legislative victories include the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act which was strengthened with the NGO’s intervention.
2. Education and enrolment
NGO Save the Children is working to reduce newborn and child death through awareness campaigns on nutrition and essential healthcare. It works closely with Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, Department of Health and Family Welfare and Panchayat Raj Institutions, creating an ecosystem of infant health and survival.India has the world’s largest education system, yet it faces low literacy due to low enrollment, and high dropout rates.
How NGO Save the Children is working for child education:
i. Emphasising the importance of child education in ‘safe schools’ that are free of discrimination on gender, caste or socio-economic background
ii. ‘Inclusive Learner Friendly Environments’ (for children aged 3-18 years) across slums and villages
iii. As members of the forum for Right to Education, the NGO pushes for a financial framework supporting the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009
iv. Dialogue with families to send their children to school, while also providing admission assistance
v. Create fun and meaningful experiences in school, with child-friendly and interactive teaching-learning methods
vi. Funding libraries, computers, sports equipment and Mobile Learning Centres
vi. Bringing out-of-school children back to the classroom, and navigating street children and child labourers back to school
3. Rehabilitation and relief
In India’s most backwards and marginalised communities, the NGO participates in the following rehabilitation and relief work
1. Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) give immediate health care to mothers, newborns and pregnant women
2. Advocacy for better policies, and their implementation
3. Supporting India’s public health and access to nutrition
4. Educating communities about natal checkups, hospital deliveries, breastfeeding, and access to nutrition and medicine
7. Cooking demonstrations, setting up health camps and providing nutrition rehab to malnourished children
8. Providing medical assistance in disaster-hit regions
Leading child rights NGO Save the Children’s campaigns have been effective in mitigating infant mortality, chronic malnutrition, child trafficking, and illiteracy. The NGO takes a holistic approach to engage governments, civil society and community. Such initiatives need extensive investment and infrastructure around-the-clock, and is constantly engaged in a cause linked to children’s rights. Donate online to join the movement to give every child a future, no matter what his or her circumstances. You will receive donation tax rebate, and the satisfaction of making a difference.