80% of our time and work is invested in duty bearers of child protection – our child protection stakeholders officially appointed by the law & state to preserve, promote and protect children’s rights. These include members of the Child Welfare Committees (CWC), Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), Department of Women & Child Development (DWCD), personnel in Child Care Institutes (CCI), Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) and Child Welfare Police Officers (CWPO).
The lockdown has majorly impacted our work both in Mumbai and in Nandurbar, Solapur & Kolhapur. Our police is out there working 24 hour shifts to protect us. But the other stakeholders are also at work but can’t be outside as much. CCIs have a special role as there are children in their direct custody and care. DCPU & DWCD are ensuring that vulnerable families receive help from existing government schemes like Bal Sangopan Yojana. They have been extending and coordinating support with other voluntary organisations as well.
From 4th May, we started an online lecture-discussion series to support all our duty bearers at district level. Taking a session online was a first time experience for all of us and we are delighted that we all have adapted quicker than we expected to this format!
So far, we have completed introductory session with Nandurbar and Solapur with 65+ participants. The session was in two parts – Information on Covid-19, concerns and how to talk to children about it was covered first. Second part included a discussion on Lockdown, Children & Us along with guidelines to follow while planning online and offline activities for children, especially in CCIs.
The task ahead of us is huge and our children, particularly from disprivileged and vulnerable communities are most at risk. We are grateful for all the participants and their willingness to engage which reassures us that there are people committed to build a safer environment for children.
Highlights from the first sessions…
A participant from Nandurbar recited a poem she has written to bring awareness about the virus and safe practices
Social workers from Solapur shared how they arranged help above and beyond their call of duty to ensure families in remote areas get ration supplies.
Child Care Home Superintendents and staff are playing new and old games with the children!
Another participant shared how she is keeping in touch with the children in the community and sharing ideas for activities with them
We will continue these sessions every week.