Keeping children safe and free from harm is what we believe in and what we do.
The Child Protection Programme is a core sector of our work.
Children pushed into child labour, children facing abuse in the community, children trafficked, children affected by a calamity or emergency situation - Save the Children works to protect children from different kinds of harms – abuse, neglect, exploitation, physical danger and violence.
Despite the rampant economic growth in the last two decades, lakhs of children in India continue to be exposed to different forms of exploitation – mental and physical. For example, a shocking 82.2 lakh children (aged 5 - 14 years) are still into the abhorrent practice of child labour which is destroying their childhood.
A simple premise that every child deserves a happy and safe childhood is what drives us to run projects in the remotest parts of India to protect children from harm.
How do we do it?
We work with the most disadvantaged local communities, sensitising and educating them about the rights of children to help them understand that children are meant to be at school and not work.
We form Children Groups through which we bring together vulnerable children in a community. These children then collectively work our solutions to help themselves and each other and ensure child rights in their area are upheld.
We work very closely with these Children Groups and train them to identify and prevent cases of child marriage, child trafficking, child abuse and child labour.
We map out-of-school children, street children and those who are involved in child labour and facilitate their movement into schools by the means of enrolment drives.
Another major aspect of our work is to coordinate with the district and state level authorities to ensure right implementation of laws so that children in the area are kept safe
For vulnerable children above 14 years of age, we organise skill-based vocational trainings like beautician courses, security guard training, etc. and prepare them for dignified employment opportunities
In 2013, we rolled out a Missing Children Helpline in Jharkhand and West Bengal where reports of missing children could be logged.
In 2014 we joined forces with IKEA to kickstart a mega project to prevent child labour in the cotton farming areas of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
During emergencies and disasters, we set up Child Friendly Spaces where affected children find a safe and conducive environment to overcome the trauma
Last year (2018), we protected 1.69 lakh children from different forms of harm.
While we take being safe for granted, there are many, many children in India who need protection.
You can keep children from harm and provide them a happy childhood.
We utilise a child rights programming framework and keep in mind the cross-cutting themes of child participation, non-discrimination and best interests of children. Our child protection work focuses on three key “evidence” groups:
- Children affected by disasters/emergencies and conflict, including Child Centered Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Children on move- child trafficking, street children, migrants children
- Children involved in harmful work and
- Children with inadequate parental care including alternatives to institutional care.
Understanding good and productive practices in care and protection is a major focus of our programme work. This requires quality programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation (research & studies) and learning from the evidence and advocate to be scaled up. Some of the most important activities of our Child
Protection programme include:
- Improving the understanding of the situation of vulnerable children in need of care and protection.
- Building children's resilience and supporting their participation in their own protection, including child-led organisations and child-to-child support.
- Promoting diversion from inappropriate or punitive responses and encouraging the reintegration of children who have been stigmatised because of their coping strategies in the absence of effective protection mechanisms.
- Demonstrating the benefits of preventative approaches and early intervention over interventions at a later stage.
- Supporting the development of community-based care and protection systems.
- Support to the co-ordination and integration of services and support to vulnerable children.
- Building the care and protection of children into broader social welfare, poverty reduction and other national development strategies.
- Building the capacity of duty bearers to deliver effective care and protection for children.
- Advocating for legal and policy reform in line with the principles and standards of the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child.