‘Empowering the children is the need of time’ was the main idea behind the two day National Conference on Child Protection and Education organised by the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, held at St Pius College, Goregaon East.
No nation can achieve and sustain growth without the development of its human resources – to start with the children. India has a sizable population of children who are deprived of basic rights such as the right to education, health and dignified living. Thousands of children in India are growing up under questionable circumstances, which are not at all conducive to their growth. It is estimated that 40% of India’s children are living under harsh conditions – subjecting them to mental, physical and emotional torture and stagnation. Issues of illiteracy, sexual abuse, malnutrition, gender bias, child trafficking, improper access to sanitation, lack of opportunities are growing at an alarming rate. All this is something that the Government is aware of and has been sanctioning programs to tackle this issue too. However not much considerable change has been brought about. Understanding the gaps here, and emphasising the role of all stakeholders of the society in tackling this issue was the primary Motive behind the National Conference on Child Protection and Education which was organised by the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan.
The conference held at St Pius College, Goregaon (east) on the 29th and 30th of March, was a perfect platform for academicians and social workers who have worked in the areas of child development for many years, to come together with their experience and understanding of the issue and collectively work towards a probable solution. Papers were presented by close to 40 academicians and social workers on issues such as promoting child’s right to education, child trafficking, need for modification in welfare policies for children, child sexual abuse, child pornography, sanitation and hygiene, child marriage etc. “In the last couple of years, the Government and civil society has been talking about children issues, but nothing substantially has come out of the programs undertaken, so this was the main reason why it was decided to focus on the theme of Child Protection and Education for the conference”, said Mr Elvis Thomas, the Convener of the conference.
The objective of this conference is three-fold –
- To understand the vulnerability of children in life situations.
- To identify gaps in services provided by government and non-government agencies with special reference to sponsorship.
- To understand the role of education as a tool for empowering vulnerable children.
This conference will contribute substantially and update NGOs in the areas of child protection and education, academicians in Human Development, government personnel from the Ministry of Family and Child Welfare to review Child Policy and Practice. Finally, the outcome of this conference will hopefully offer a way forward to creatively plan relevant implementation strategies and how best to address the challenges in the field of child protection and education.