Pledge to protect children, stand up against their abuse and exploitation

Surakshit Bachpan Diwas celebrated across the country on Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s birthday. A note:

To commemorate Nobel Peace Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi’s birthday on January 11, Surakshit Bachpan Diwas was celebrated across the country on Tuesday. Hundreds of child right activists took the pledge to protect children, make their childhoods safe and secure and reached out to citizens nationwide to stand up against abuse and exploitation of children and inspire them to make the world child-friendly.

A national level painting and music competition was organized to mark the occasion which saw spirited participation of thousands of young participants studying in schools and colleges. Cash prizes were also announced to reward the best performers in the competition. The themes revolved around Safe Childhood and Happy childhood. Eminent Poet and Theatre Artist Malavika Joshi also performed story telling on some important events of Mr Satyarthi’s life.

“The pandemic has disrupted access to healthcare, nutrition, education, potable water and sanitation, social and child protection support and led to increase in trafficking and child labour. Surakshit Bachpan Diwas is being celebrated to spread awareness about exploitation of children and make the society aware on how we can join hands to make the world a safer place to live in for children by ensuring their rights. Our online programmes are an effort to talk about safe childhood with an appeal to prioritize children in every possible field,” Rakesh Sengar, Executive Director, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation said.

As a part of the nationwide celebrations, two pertinent discussions – titled ‘Main Azad Hun’ and ‘Sangharsh Jaari Hain’ – were conducted with young child leaders from Bal Ashram (a long term rehabilitation center for rescued children), Mukti Caravan (a campaign on wheels programme at the grassroots level to ensure child protection) and  Bal Mitra Gram (the flagship Child Friendly Village programme of Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation to empower children and make them aware of their rights). The child leaders shared their stories with to tell the world how they have become champions of child rights in their villages, stopped child marriages and rescued children from child labour and enrolled them in school and empowered the community as a whole by changing medieval mindsets. 

Mohammad Chhotu from Bihar who is leading Mukti Caravan intervention shared his personal story of how he was rescued in 2009 from being a child labour and how he is now leading a group of survivors and combating trafficking at the grassroots. “If all children get opportunity like me, social evils and other problems will be solved to a great extent,” he said.

Reiterating their point of view, the children thanked Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and said without his inspiration and support, it would have been virtually impossible to free children trapped as child labour, and rescue them from trafficking, child marriage, and bolster the fight against child sexual abuse and drug abuse, social evils like untouchability.

Rukhsana, who is pursuing her post-graduation from Meerut and preparing for CTET, said, “My goal is to establish a school where Dalit children get free education and girls can be connected to education by becoming a teacher.”

Shri Satyarthi encouraged all the initiatives that the children are taking in their respective areas also shared his childhood memories with them in in this freewheeling conversation.

To spread the awareness about child rights and core areas pertaining to child protection, a special discussion was also organized with leading media personalities also to help augment child protection mechanisms in the country.

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