Children’s Day is more than just a celebration of a child’s free spirit and infectious energy. It’s a commitment to children from all walks of life. Every child, irrespective of their socio-economic background, needs to grow up happy, healthy and in nurturing and safe spaces.
At Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) and YUVA Urban Initiatives, we have been taking ahead our commitment to child rights throughout the year through various interventions on-ground and online. With YUVA Urban Initiatives also being an implementation partner of CHILDLINE, a 24-hour toll-free emergency call service for children in distress, our teams also rescue and rehabilitate children from adverse circumstances.
To observe Children’s Day, our teams led multiple initiatives spread over a few days, at the community level, at CHILDLINE centres, as well as at partner locations.
On 14 November 2021, a signature campaign was organised as part of the CHILDLINE se Dosti campaign by the DADAR Railway CHILDLINE and Railway Children India team at Dadar Terminus platform 7/8. Many railway staff and passengers participated in this campaign. They were provided information about CHILDLINE services too.
In select communities of Dadar and Matunga where we work, children were encouraged to create greeting cards for their family members and loved ones. Outdoor games were organised for them, such as lemon race, jump rope competition, relay race, long jump competition, and the winners received prizes. Parents and children also adorned each other’s wrists with friendship bands as a gesture of support and warmth towards each other. Children were given biscuits and chocolates which they relished with delight.
In Navi Mumbai, the importance of child right’s week and why it is observed was explained to the community children. A drawing competition was organized for children under the theme ‘Mera Adhikar’ (My Right). It allowed children to creatively express the importance of their rights!
Children were briefed about CHILDLINE and the services it offers, and encouraged to use the emergency helpline to seek support if needed. They were also encouraged to write what services they require in their community on a large white banner. The team plans to expand this exercise to other communities as well, and share children’s demands at the Bal Sabha that they plan to host in Navi Mumbai soon, where they will also invite local leaders and seek their support to resolve these issues.
Multiple activities were also organised by YUVA teams within the communities where we work. A drawing competition took place at RNA Park, Vashi Naka where the children drew their ‘dream basti’. In Jogeshwari, the Prerna youth group shared the historical significance of Children’s Day with the children in the community.
In Kurla, parents and children were educated about child safety and the various Acts in place for children’s welfare. They were briefed about CHILDLINE and its services to rescue vulnerable children.
At a library in Kurla, the discussion focused on how disabled children can also seek support from CHILDLINE. Eminent personalities in the field of journalism, photography, social work and disability rights were present. Children also shared about the social issues that affect them.
The non-profit Sankalp, running child learning centres across areas in Mumbai, invited our team members to conduct a session on CHILDLINE and child rights with social workers from different non-profits. The session was extremely informative and interactive. Teams used songs, presentations and videos to creatively engage participants and encouraged them to share their doubts and queries. The session was such a success that we have been invited to host another session.
In this way, our teams across areas observed Children’s Day as a way to further spread awareness on child rights and recommit more individuals to be mindful of upholding rights for children everywhere!