on the details of
From inception, Bal Sakha has played the role of watch dog in the community. Sanat Kumar Sinha is a trained social worker from the College of Social Work, Mumbai. His involvement in the JP Narayan Movement as a young person has greatly influenced his thought and personality. In 2001 he was associated with the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Mumbai for supporting an NGO working in the red-light area of Muzafferpur. In 2003 he got an opportunity to work for UNIFEM for developing district profiles in Bihar pertaining to the situation of trafficking of children. He is a member of the State Selection Committee for the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act in Bihar and also a member of the State Monitoring Committee on child trafficking and sexual exploitation of women.
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. In 2002, Bal Sakha conducted a state wide study to understand the reality of the juvenile justice system in Bihar and identified a few gaps.
It was seen that 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. In 1367 cases, the children were sent to remand homes; in 606 cases, to prisons and in the remaining 234 cases there were no records where the juveniles were sent. 3604 cases were pending for a period of more than 3 years, 2014 cases were pending for a period between 1 – 3 years. 644 cases were pending for a period of less than 1 year.
Child migration is a common phenomenon. Due to poverty, migration for livelihood opportunities is very high. This exposes children to various social evils like crime, drugs etc. Children also start working at an early age to support the financial burden of the family.
In most of the rural areas, the number of children out of school is very high. They add to the child population on the street and child labor. 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 different purposes, such as, 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.
- To enhance the standard of Government institutions for juveniles and bring all children into the mainstream community
- To enhance the capacity of the core group members and guide civil society on this issue
- To do advocacy with the Government to activate the Child Welfare Committees (CWC) and the Juvenile Justice Board
- To provide knowledge about children’s rights and child protection to the community in the target operational area
- To mobilize women and youth of the area to monitor and protest against incidences of hazardous child labor, child marriage and child trafficking
- To create a platform for the children to participate in various cultural activities to promote their knowledge and self expression
Review and Impact
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 to enhance the quality of the Observation Home (OH) and bring positive changes in the lives of the children in institutions. On the other hand, through the participation and mobilization of the NGOs, civil society and the media, the organization has been able to involve children in the open forum to share their experiences. Bal Sakha has optimal skills to address the issue and further its image, taking it to the level of bureaucracy and judiciary.
- Birth registration certificate ensured for 110 out of 223 applications
- 147 child workers joined in the Child Protection Center(CPC)
- 65 child workers rescued and linked with the Child Protection Center
- 68 child workers are attending school
- 87 drop out children were enrolled in school
- 533 children were immunized
- 3 children were protected from early marriage
- Capacity building of children on local issues and children issues. Cultural training of the children to build their expression and confidence.
- Children’s rally on children’s day.
- Scaling up of Bal Kosh (fund raised from community to address immediate needs of children) to address health issues.
- Drop out children will be enrolled in school, with special attention to child labor.
- Activation of the Bal Suraksha Manch (Children’s Protection Group).
- Focus on education, birth registration, child labor and protecting children from migration and trafficking.
- Developing a resource directory in 10 districts where the Child Protection Units are in place.
- State level interface with the Government for proper facilities of the Juvenile Justice Board and the Child Welfare Committee to discharge their responsibilities.
- Capacity building of the Police personnel in 4 districts on child protection issues.
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