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BAL SAKHA - COALITION FOR CHILD RIGHTS TO PROTECTION (CCRP) BIHAR

Location: Bihar, India

   

Situation

Bal Sakha, with its vast experience and expertise in dealing with legal cases realized that the plight of children in Bihar is pathetic and even worse is the case of children in conflict with the law. More than 9% of total pending Juvenile Cases had been pending for more than 10 years. There were instances of juvenile cases pending for as long as 20 to 24 years. There are 234 cases with no records about where the juveniles were sent post the disposition of cases.

Child migration is a common phenomenon exposing children to various social evils like crime, drugs etc. Lack of quality, child friendly education and attitude of parents are a few reasons for the shortfall in education.

Child trafficking is another common phenomenon. Children are being trafficked for bonded labor, prostitution and organ transplants. Children, in the name of employment are being pushed into hazardous work such as carpet factories and beedi (unfiltered, leaf cigarette) manufacturing factories. These children, not only get less food, they also have to work in hazardous conditions for long hours and are denied their childhood.

Objectives

• To improve the standard of the government institutions meant for juveniles and bring children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law into the mainstream society.

• To advocate with the Social Welfare Department for activation of Child Welfare Committees (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

• To impart knowledge on child protection issues among the community in the operational area.

• To mobilize the women and youth to monitor and protest against instances of hazardous child labor, child marriage and child trafficking.

• To create a platform for the children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with the law to participate in various cultural activities for improving their skills, knowledge and freedom of expression.

• Sensitization of the judiciary and police system and capacity building of other NGO's on the juvenile justice system.

Highlights

• Bal Sakha is a pioneer organization in the state of Bihar on the issue of child protection and has established its visibility in the state and in different departments of the government.

• The organization has a two-fold approach to address child protection issues. One is through direct community intervention and the other through the participation and mobilization of the NGOs, civil society and the media.

• Bal Sakha has optimal skills to address the issue and further its image, taking it to the level of bureaucracy and judiciary.

Results

• Birth registration certificates ensured for 209 children.

• 147 child workers joined the child protection center.

• 77 Child workers rescued and linked with the Child Protection Centre (CPC).

• 120 child workers and 135 drop out children were re-enrolled in school.

• 1492 children were covered under the immunization program.

• 12 cases of girl child marriage were stopped.

Background:

In 1982, Mr. Sanat Kumar Sinha visited the observation homes in Bihar to do a comparative study of various institutions for children and to find out the possible alternatives that could ensure effective implementation of Juvenile Justice Act. He then founded the organization Bal Sakha in 1988 with the view to protect the rights of the children. The project holder is a member of State Selection Committee for the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act in Bihar and also the member of State Monitoring Committee on child trafficking and sexual exploitation of women. The Resource Organization is situated in Patna. It has several field offices at district level. From last two years the organization with CRY support has initiated community level intervention in 10 selected villahes of Patna, Munger and Bhagalpur districts in Bihar.

Situation:

Bal Sakha with its vast experiences and expertise in dealing with legal cases realized that the plight of the children in Bihar is pathetic and even worse in the case of children in conflict with law. In 2002, Bal Sakha conducted a state wide study to understand the reality of the juvenile justice system in Bihar and identified few gaps.  It was seen that more than 9% of total pending Juvenile Cases, has been pending for more than 10 years. There were instances of juvenile cases pending for as long as 20 to 24 years. In 1367 cases, the children were sent to the remand Homes, 606 cases to prisons and in rest 234 cases there were no records where the juveniles were sent.   3604 cases were pending for a period more than 3 years, 2014 cases were pending for a period between 1 - 3 years. 644 cases were pending for a period less than 1 year. A study reveals that child migration, fake marriages for commercial sex and child trafficking are largely prevailing in the area. Due to poverty, migration for livelihood opportunities is very high. This makes children exposed to various social evils like crime, drugs etc. Children also start working at an early age to support the financial burden of the family. Poor educational facility is another major problem in Bihar. Children work in hazardous condition in carpet factories and bidi manufacturing factories etc. These children, not only get less food, but also often need to work for more than 18 hours a day that too in an unhygienic atmosphere.

Objectives:

  • To improve the standard of the Government institutions meant for juvenile and bring children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law into the mainstream society.
  • To advocate with Social Welfare Department of Government for activation of Child Welfare Committees (CWC) and Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).
  • To impart knowledge on child protection issues among the community in operational area.
  • To mobilize the women and youth to monitor and protest against incidences of hazardous child labour, child marriages and child trafficking.
  • To create a platform for the children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law to participate in various cultural activities for improving their skills, knowledge and freedom of expression.
  • Sensitization of judiciary and Police system and capacity building of other NGOs on juvenile justice system.

Review:

Bal Sakha reached out to the community to check the child rights violation in selected 10 villages in Patna, Bhagalpur and Munger district. Based on the study findings, it identifies these operational villages as most potential villages of child trafficking, child labour and rampant early marriages. Organization invests in the children of these communities and preparing them for raising voices and acting upon against the CR violation. In Patna, Bal Sakha has taken up 5 Tolas for direct intervention along with Kurthol, Hulluckpur, Etwarpur villages and focused on the engagement with the children. Under community awareness program, children rally for awareness building process was done in 10 villages. During last year, Bal Sakha took up the Right to Education (RTE) issue as core intervention in the village. They started visiting the private schools and negotiate with the teachers to take admission of poor children in their schools as per the provisions of the RTE Act. Along with the education process, the organization's staff also focused on the birth registration activities of the children, immunization in ICDS centre.

Strategically the organization has formed small groups of women, men and youth members called Bal Suraksha Manch. The concept is to sensitize, making them aware and monitor the issue of child trafficking, child labour, child marriage, birth registration etc in the villages. In last year. Bal sakha ,during last year organised Bal Mela which was a amalgamation of the cmmunity's interest,interest of other local NGOs and children's zeal and potential.97 community people including parents and 160 children participated.

Some highlights for the last year are:

  • 7 adolescent groups with members in the age group of 10-15 years are working for capacity building programme.
  • Organising of .Bal Mela where 97 community people including parents and 160 children participated
  • Creating awareness through Child Rights Programme on a regular basis across 10 villages.
  • Engagement with Law enforcement agencies.
  • Capacity building inputs in advocacy workshop and right to survival workshop.

Plans:

In this year the organization has plans to focus on the following areas:

  • Strengthening the Patna CPC village level awareness program on Child Rights empowerment.
  • Strengthening the local groups and helping them to take action to improve the quality of the institutions.
  • Advocacy for promoting standard institutional care in Government run homes.
  • Meeting, interaction, writing letter, protest letter etc on the implementation status of the JJ systems.
  • Participation in Crime meeting day in 8 districts.
  • Advocacy and Lobbying with Judicial and State Level Authorities.
  • Quarterly meeting, discussion on the issues and developing Plan of Actions on the same.

Budget summary:

Particulars Amount (US $)
Right to Development 20,564
Administration 4,824
Total 25,387

 

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