Our hope for children
Save the Children has a history of being the first responder during any humanitarian challenge. But the COVID-19 crisis was critical in more ways than one. We knew that the marginalized families need us now more than ever, but we were constantly worried about our colleagues on the ground who were challenging their own safety every day. As a leader, the least I could do is to be there on the field with them, not only to support this fearless team but also to listen to the children and families dealing with absolute distress and uncertainty.
I reached a relief distribution site in the month of June in New Delhi. As I could see first-hand, the challenges on the field ranged from food security, need of livelihood support, protection issues for children. These challenges include the restricted access to social protection mechanisms, due to problems related to lack of identity documents for many migrant families — without an identity document even the access to ration was impossible. Most of the families did not have cash to sustain themselves beyond a day.
Understanding Child Rights
Multiple hazards reverse progress on child rights
With climate emergencies like the flood and cyclone hitting states of West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Assam and Bihar, the pandemic has turned catastrophic --posing multiple risks to the safety and wellbeing of children. The progress made in the last decade to safeguard the wellbeing and safety of children in the country seemed to have now been reversed.
Metropolitan cities like Kolkata (West Bengal) and Mumbai (Maharashtra) were not hit by a cyclone in decades, and so raised concerns about their readiness to handle a double jeopardy. A large part of the population of street children is concentrated in these metropolitan cities; with factors like migration, urbanisation, dismantling of family structure, domestic violence, political unrest, rapid economic growth, child abuse and -- most importantly
Highlights of the quarter
Steering narratives against child labour, traffic
With the amendment in labour laws by some states after COVID-19 lockdown, the need for action towards safeguarding the rights of children was felt more than ever. Bringing like-minded organisations and networks together, Save the Children jointly made appeals for a review of the legislation. Media discourses, conversation on digital platforms, statements by multiple stakeholders, hub level consultations, all contributed to successfully claim that ‘Work is No Child’s Business’.
Bringing streets to screens
When India stayed home to keep safe from the virus, the children on the streets remained exposed to increased risks of disease, infection, violence and abuse. To amplify the cause of the two million children living on the streets in India, Save the Children in collaboration with internationally acclaimed photographer Vicky Roy launched the first ever digital exhibition ‘A Lens on #TheInvisibles’ in April to narrate the exemplary stories of 10 children living on the streets.
at a glance
Updates From This Quarter
RALLYING FOR THE RIGHT
Save the Children amplified voices on platforms that matter
The safety and security of children was brought into crisis, following the sudden declaration of the lockdown, as they walked miles to reach home along with parents. Save the Children, along with other members of the Joining Forces Alliance (a collaboration of the six leading NGOs working with and for children) issued a joint appeal to the Government of India to prioritise vulnerable and at-risk children in their response strategy, provide uninterrupted access to critical services to children and ensure protection and interests of children during the response.
The plight of migrants
As migrant workers started returning to their villages, the uncertainty around their lives and livelihoods continued to grow bigger. Save the Children mounted an exclusive response for migrants on the move by installing distribution kiosks along the Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh border in Gumla district -- which is the dropping point for the migrants returning to either of the two states.
Advocating for the right start
After the recent guidelines issued by the Rajasthan government on the Right to Education Act, Save the Children filed an appeal to the state government for protection of rights of children for quality preschool education. This was done in collaboration with 25 NGOs and 3 civil society networks including Right to Education Forum, Rajasthan Bal Adhikar Sanrakshan and Sanjha Abhiyan.
The new guidelines seek to keep pre-primary classes out of the ambit of 25 per cent reservation for disadvantaged sections in private schools. The move will disallow beneficiary students of pre-primary education in private schools. The consultation was attended by CSOs, lawyers, early care and education experts from across the country who reflected on the likely impacts of the move including mismatched learning outcomes in the later academic stage.
Making Collective Accountability Counts
Save the Children collectivised actions through strategic collaborations with CSO coalitions like Coalition against Child Labour in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Shehri Gareeb Vikaas Sangathan in Bihar to prepare focused action plan against trafficking.
A partnership to bring smile
Save the Children collaborated with ITC Foods Limited to offer fresh milk to 520 children in the slums of Park Circus and Bracebridge areas of Kolkata on a daily basis throughout the lockdown period.
NGOs, corporates, media, influencers unite for children
Business leaders from India’s leading corporates, human rights advocates, NGOs and media bigwigs joined Save the Children’s digital Changemaker webinar series to discuss pressing challenges leading to vulnerability of children amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the months of June and July.
A global call for a global pandemic
Save the Children as a global movement launched a global call for world leaders to #ProtectAGeneration for disease containment and mitigation, global financing to support health systems in poorest of the countries, supporting family finances including protection for jobs and guaranteed family income to the most vulnerable, access to safe, quality and accessible distance learning to children amid school closures and to factor children's interest, protection and safety at the centre of all responses.
Backing up government platforms
Save the Children signed an MoU with Jharkhand government to support the migrants for availability of food, shelter, medicines and other essentials from the state stuck across the states of Assam, Bihar, MP, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Save the Children also supported the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), teachers, State Resource Groups on responsive caregiving to ensure psycho-social support to the children during lockdown. 1000 Teachers and parents were reached.
Save the Children supported the district administration in Odisha, Rajasthan, Assam to address the issue and challenges that emerged as unforeseen fallouts of the lockdown. With suspension of public systems, the adolescent girls trained under the MNCP project produced handmade masks and sanitary napkins to ensure personal hygiene for community and frontline workers including Anganwadi and health workers.
Survey highlights grim realities of children amid lockdown
The rapid needs assessment survey conducted by Save the Children covering 7,235 families across 15 states showed children in about 62 per cent households discontinued their education amid the coronavirus outbreak. The survey was conducted to understand challenges, thematic priorities and impact of coronavirus among target population from 7-30 June 2020. 40 per cent of the children surveyed did not receive Mid-Day Meals during the lockdown.
The report also magnified the digital divide among rural and urban informing that 14 per cent households did not have smart phones or required internet bandwidth connection to attend online sessions. The other challenges according to the survey were shortage of cash, lack of livelihood opportunities and no access to Public Dsitribution Services (PDS) leading to shortage of food grain. The state-wise findings were shared with Niti Ayog to influence policies.
Our Children, Our Pride
Brown bag lunch sessions gain popularity amid work from home
In these days of social distancing, only enhanced communication will keep us closer. With this belief, Save the Children upgraded the brown bag lunch sessions to digital platform. The Brown bag lunch sessions are informal platforms within Save the Children where the employees join together over lunch to discuss anything ranging from analysis of latest policies to how to take care of your mental health. Contrary to the popular belief, this platform—a favorite among the employees of Save the Children has seen an increased participation from across the states during the outbreak of the pandemic. While the employees have been working from their respective homes, we have utilized this platform to talk about work life balance, virtual yoga and how to use creativity to handle stress facilitated by internal and external moderators.
Reaching Every Last Child
WATCH OUT FOR
Stay tuned for more
Street Children Cricket World Cup comes to India
The second edition of the Street Children Cricket World Cup will be held in New Delhi in 2023 — the launch starts in August 2020.
The event will bring young people living on the streets from across the world to take part in a cricket tournament to highlight their right to protection. The children will also be part of an epic train journey from Chennai to Delhi symbolic of the journey these children take away from their homes.
engage with us
More than a Game
Have you taken the #MoreThanAGame Challenge?
The countdown for the 2023 Street Children Cricket World Cup has begun. We bring you an opportunity to join hands with us and make every child living on the streets count. As an influencer and supporter of the street connected children, take this simple challenge on your social media and be a champion of their cause.