Children Advocating for their Rights Through Arts

ChildFund India initiates Child-Led Child Protection initiative under its Khilta Bachpan Campaign

6 March 2020: In line with its focus on Child Protection, ChildFund India has been implementing “Khilta Bachpan”, a country-wide innovative campaign that promotes art education as a means for children to ‘Engage, Express, Empower’. ChildFund India organized its “Children Advocating for their Rights Through Arts” event, as part of its Child-Led Child Protection initiative under the campaign, at the YMCA International Programme Centre in Bangalore, during which children from government schools came forward and voiced their concerns related to their rights and protection using various Art forms. The main objective of this initiative is to empower children as Catalysts of Change. Ms. Salma Sadikha – Secretary, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), Govt. of Karnataka and Mr. Sadashiv Shenoy, President, Bangalore Press Club were the Guests of Honor at the event.

While we have several child protection policies in place, we as a country are still struggling to provide our children with opportunities to raise their voices, plat­forms to engage in meaningful discussions that affect their protection and rights and access to resources. ChildFund, working towards SDG 16.2, seeks to end violence against children by providing them with knowledge about their rights, policies and make them aware of the systems that are in place. It also encourages children and young people to engage in informed dialogue with decision-makers towards realizing positive change at the community and national level.

Art Education plays an important role in helping children develop, engage meaningfully, build resilience, and reach their utmost potential. Engaging in Arts helps children control their negative emotions by providing them with means to constructively cope with and channelize their energies towards positive outcomes.

“At ChildFund, we believe that children need to be aware of their rights; their right to survival, protection, participation and development, as it is fundamental to building strong and confident young citizens. When given the right platform, channel to express and encouragement they can play a role in their own protection and be advocates for issues that will impact their present and future. I’m aware that Arts is the most effective channel for creative expression, development and to influence young minds. This initiative gives them the opportunity to stay safe and thrive in a conducive and positive environment,” shared Neelam Makhijani, Country Director and CEO of ChildFund India.

At the event, children from government schools, who were trained by local artists, performed dance as well as a skit based on child protection related issues; artworks created by them expressing their thoughts and imaginations related to child rights were also displayed and classical dance performances were presented by scholarship holders from Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), who will be training the government school children through ‘Peer model’ under the campaign. The highlight of the event was the discussion with duty bearers and artists, such as Mr. Nagasimha G.  Rao, Director of Child Rights Trust (CRT), Ms. Geethamala. T.R, Bangalore Child Welfare Committee Member and Mr. Vivek Sadasivam, Head of Special Projects at SaPa, the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts, on the queries raised by children on child rights and protection issues, roles of the duty bearers and how best the children can protect themselves by understanding their rights better. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Shaini Jacob, Grants Manager at ChildFund India.

The event was attended by government school children, Principals, representatives from various corporate organizations, government and non- governmental organizations especially from child rights-based organizations and forums as well as individuals.

Khilta Bachpan campaign activities in the selected government schools of Bangalore in Karnataka state are supported by corporates and organizations such as Aryaka Networks India Private Limited, Technicolor India, HCL Foundation and Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India).

About ChildFund India

ChildFund India is a part of ChildFund International - a child protection and development organization working in 25 countries and annually assisting millions of children, youth and their families globally. For nearly 7 decades, ChildFund India has been working with underprivileged children, youth and families from the most remote, extremely backward and hard-to-reach areas, with a vision to build “an India where children lead a dignified life and achieve their full potential”. ChildFund India annually reaches nearly 3.5 million children, youth, and their families across 15 States through its long-term programs by investing nearly 60-70 Crores a year. ChildFund’s unique programs provide comprehensive support to children from their conception until they reach 24 years of age by integrating health, nutrition, sanitation, gender equality, disability, education, skill training, livelihoods, child protection and humanitarian relief work.

ChildFund’s programs give equal importance to recreational activities as much as they give to education. Over the years, ChildFund has realized that Art plays a critical role in a child’s overall development. To take this thought forward, ChildFund India has incorporated Arts-based programs in its strategy and designed Khilta Bachpan campaign, which uses exclusively ‘Arts’ as a tool to help children achieve their full potential, and become responsible and contributing citizens, hence breaking the generational cycle of poverty.

This award-winning organization has been successful in establishing relations with relevant stakeholders including the communities it works with, district, state and national government bodies, academic institutions, media, funding agencies and corporates to achieve their mutual goals.

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