Quarterly Bulletin

Bal Raksha Bharat

March 2021 | ISSUE-VII


Understanding Child Rights

Children shone through when world stood still

COVID-19 challenged Save the Children’s 100 years of humanitarian experience in an unprecedented manner. While the organisation jumped to the immediate need to #ProtectAGeneration, the response was led by children who have been at the forefront of our programs forever. Years of working for and with children manifested itself with children fighting the fallouts of the pandemic at the community level with absolute elan.

The child champions led the fight with risks of school dropout, child labour, trafficking and marriage lurking as the biggest COVID-19 induced crises. We bring you a round-up of how our children shone in the face of pandemic in the year gone by.

Watch this video to get a glimpse into our response and how we touched lakhs of lives

Food is not a luxury – Gayatri

When Indian philanthropists took cognizance of the millions of workers walking on the streets to escape hunger after losing their livelihood due to pandemic, there were many who were starving inside their homes. Such was the case of Gayatri, our youth champion from Riga block in Sitamarhi district of Bihar and the residents of her own village. Despite promises for continuity of essential services, the families of Kharsa village could not manage to fend themselves as the PDS service failed them.

Gayatri, met the local PDS dealers and PRI members to resolve the issue, but certainly to no avail. Without waiting further, this girl of 17, mobilised her youth group, sought support from our local partner and conducted a quick door-to-door survey to enlist 950 families in two days who had run out of grains. She wrote a demand letter to the District Magistrate Abhilasha Kumari to propel immediate action.

The next morning, all families with or without ration cards in Kharsa village got the ration supplies for the month at their doorstep distributed by PDS — thanks to Gayatri and her conviction for creating change.

Scooting against all odds - Renu

The typical image of the women wearing dupattas as Ghoongat over their heads from the hinterlands of Rajasthan was altered by our young, smart youth champion Renu, who scooted more than 30 kms in the blistering summer heat to bring pads for 300 girls in the Thob village in Osian block. When the sanitary pad service ran dry with lockdown at its peak in June 2020, menstrual hygiene went for a toss with the girls resorting to use of cloth that accelerated infections among them.

After being declined support from Anganwadi and SDM for ensuring availability of pads, Renu approached the Community Health Centre who finally relented by providing her a carton of napkins. But with stringent imposition of lockdown, no vehicle was available to dispatch them. Renu took her scooty and drove over 30 kms to bring home the carton herself and addressed the urgent needs of people that the system conveniently chose to ignore.

Celebrating change at International Children’s Peace Prize – Nazreen, Vasundara, Jashoda, Poonam, Naushin.

Nazreen, Vasundhara, Poonam, Naushin and Jashoda — five firebrand children steering our interventions at the ground -- joined the likes of Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai by securing their nominations for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2020. The International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded annually to a child who has made an exceptional difference for the rights of the child and the position of vulnerable children, anywhere in the world. It has been won by some of the biggest child activists from across the world.

Crusade against child marriage recognised at UNV – Yashoda Pande

It was 2017 when our Marriage No Child’s Play project team identified Yashoda Pandey from Nuapada district of Odisha. She had a fire in her belly and that’s what drove her tirade against child marriage in a drought prone district where seasonal migration has long been a bane. Yashoda won the prestigious V-Award 2020 by United Nations Volunteer (UNV) for her fight against child marriages.

The 21-year-old has successfully stopped 80 child marriages in last three years.

Protecting a Generation

Our children joined children from 45 other countries to amplify their recommendations to tackle the fallouts of the pandemic during the global survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on children.

The survey report ‘A Generation at Stake: Protecting India’s children from the impact of COVID-19', amplified pertinent recommendations made by children.

They called on the Government and leaders to ensure special sessions to improve learning levels after school reopen, social protection coverage for families who lost their livelihoods, strengthen health systems and access to food and nutritional schemes, ensure safety at homes and schools. Children also amplified a strong demand to factor their choices, participation in issues that impact them.