Children have the right to live a healthy life, to learn and receive education, to be safe from abuse and exploitation and to have the freedom to express and pursue their dreams.
But how often do we see this happening?
One in 3 children under 5 years of age is underweight or stunted due to malnourishment
Every hour, four children face sexual abuse and exploitation
Almost a quarter of the child population is still victim to early marriage
Children are dropping out of school, becoming victims to crimes like human trafficking and going missing without a trace.
This is not how it should be. And this is what we have to keep making an effort to change.
Swayangsiddha, meaning self-reliance, is an initiative by the West Bengal Police and one such step in this direction. Aware and alert youths in West Bengal are taking steps to build peer and community awareness on ramifications of human trafficking and pitfalls of child marriage. In the last 2 years, they have prevented 100+ child marriages and are raising their voice against sexual harassment and abuse faced at home and elsewhere.
Recently, two girl students from Kultoli and Joynagar-II blocks of South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal protested when their parents fixed their marriage and directly reported the case to the school seeking their intervention. As a result, the marriage was prevented and authorities stepped in to explain to the parents.
Swayangsiddha groups are feeling empowered and enabled to speak their minds and protect themselves and their peers from abuse, harm and danger. This Children’s Day, together, we have renewed our vow to continue to fight for children’s protection and rights.
Join the mission and make all children ‘Swayangsiddha’!