The situation of children in India can be dire. Children under the age of 18 comprise 37% of India’s population. Many of them experience deprivation such as lack of access to basic education, nutrition or health care. In addition, many are subjected to various forms of abuse, neglect, violence, and maltreatment which dominate their childhood experience
Further violations of child rights, legitimized by cultural practices and customs deeply rooted in the male-dominant patriarchal society, involve child marriage, of which 326 incidences were reported in 2015-16, and gender discrimination, which has created significant gender disparity.
This is reflected in the preference for providing educational opportunities for the male child. The perception of girl children as a burden to the family also leads to sex selective abortion which has resulted in an unequal sex ratio in the country with 933 females per 1000 males (Census, 2011).
Indian Center for Integrated Development provides programming for the children and women in Nagpur India. There are a number of programs working with youth. You can check them out here.
A prime example of this is an initiative, Project Bloom, of Dominican friars in collaboration with Dominican Sisters of the Presentation and Dominican Laity in the Yuvajyothi Children’s Home of the Indian Centre for Integrated Development (ICID) in Nagpur.
This project strives to rescue children and female youth from exploitative, abusive and other disadvantaged situations such as street and pavement dwelling, work places, children begging, picking waste material and neglected children, and provide a protective environment where a child finds a safe, dignified and child-friendly atmosphere including their rehabilitation with their families.
This is done through various programs, such as street outreach, formation of children’s groups, counselling, life skill education, educational support and sponsorship, provision of safe shelter for children in need, organizing child right awareness and advocacy programs.
The Dominican Family of Friars, Sisters and Laity also work in collaboration with a team of social workers and volunteers in Nagpur district to assist with children who are already living on the streets with adequate and necessary support:
- Providing street-based support, protection, rescue, rehabilitation and integration (with family), maintaining street presence through volunteers, and awareness creation among children about the risks and dangers on the streets.
- Residential care (counselling, food, accommodation, education, life skill development, livelihood training and opportunity, and preparing them for family life). Children are referred to Yuvajyothi or other homes for children.
And to work with economically and socially disadvantaged families whose children may turn to the streets:
- Sensitization visits to the families, life skill education to children in the families, child rights awareness in communities and schools, interventions at the school level in order to retain children in the schools, networking and advocacy.
- Livelihood training and opportunities for women from disadvantaged families at community-based centers.
In addition, all the Dominican entities in India are developing a training project, Safe Childhood: Breaking the silence and preventing incidences of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), to equip sisters and brothers with skills in dealing with child sexual abuse through activities such as:
- Children’s groups and training in safety lessons against CSE
- Increasing the knowledge and life skills of children to understand CSE and appropriately report the same in time
- Awareness and sensitization on CSE in communities
- Strengthening families by assisting parents to understand their children’s issues and how to help them be free from sexual exploitation
- Providing nurturing support by visiting at-risk families at home and ensure family counseling and parenting support
- Training of teachers, counselors and others on child sexual exploitation and enhance their capacity to effectively protect children from sexual exploitation
- Dialogue and networking with schools and Government and Civil Society Organizations
If you want more information in the Indian Centre for Integrated Development run by the friars in India, click here.
Indian society is tremendously diverse. According to the Asia Society, “India offers astounding variety in virtually every aspect of social life. Diversities of ethnic, linguistic, regional, economic, religious, class, and caste groups crosscut Indian society, which is also permeated with immense urban-rural differences and gender distinctions. Differences between north India and south India are particularly significant, especially in systems of kinship and marriage. Indian society is multifaceted to an extent perhaps unknown in any other of the world’s great civilizations—it is more like an area as varied as Europe than any other single nation-state. Adding further variety to contemporary Indian culture are rapidly occurring changes affecting various regions and socioeconomic groups in disparate ways. Yet, amid the complexities of Indian life, widely accepted cultural themes enhance social harmony and order.” You can learn more here.
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