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Background

Basundhara was established in the year 1985 with a focus on women and children. They started with running an institution with the objective of rehabilitation of children but in due course realized the need for finding alternate ways of caring for children which resulted in Basundhara working in the field of adoption. This also entailed working with the Juvenile Justice system in the state of Orissa and advocating with the government to herald in the State Rules for the implementation of child rights. The organization has been able to mobilize people from various walks of life in engaging them to advocate for child rights. The Project Holder, Ms. Salia Behera, is an eminent personality in the field of child protection in Orissa. She has also been the founder secretary of the Utkal Mahila Samiti and is a member of the Child Welfare Committee, Indian Red Cross Society Orissa branch, Board of Control of Orphanages & Child Care Institutions and executive member of the network CARA.

Situation

Orissa continues to be the poorest state in India for the past 25 years. Though there has been a decline in the poverty ratio in the State, about 50% of the population continues to remain below the poverty line. The incidence of poverty is more in northern and southern regions of the State. It is higher among the scheduled tribes as compared to scheduled castes and general castes. Though the state government has undertaken a number of welfare schemes like Antodoya Anna Yojna, Annapurna Anna Yojna, Integrated Child Development scheme, mid-day meal scheme, Food for Work, National Family Benefit Scheme, National Old Age Pension scheme, Widow Pension scheme, National Disabled Pension scheme and Balika Samridhi Yojna, these schemes have failed to deliver because of the attitude of the people in power.

Taking into consideration the diverse nature of the state, a host of child protection issues are at stake. Children are being affected owing to displacement happening in the name of development and conservation of the environment. With the onslaught of rapid industrialization, people are forced away from agriculture and access to common property resources and compelled into labor. In this process, children are also forced into labor. Some of the prominent child protection violations include children being affected by natural calamities, child sexual exploitation and child trafficking, children affected by HIV / AIDS and physical / mental challenges among children. In this context, Basundhara aims to build a society, where every child enjoys a life with rights and dignity.

Objectives

  • • To work for the rehabilitation of children who have either been relinquished by the parents, who have lost their parents or are in difficult circumstances.
  • • Streamlining the process of adoption in the state of Orissa.
  • • Integrating disadvantaged children into the ambit of education.
  • • Providing family support to prevent disintegration of families.
  • • Rehabilitation of children affected by natural disasters.
  • • Addressing the issue of unwed mothers and chalking out rehabilitation plans.

Review and Impact


The focus of the Resource Organization [RO] has been to broad base the core group and bring in people from diverse backgrounds such as agencies dealing in institutional care, adoption, the legal profession and Government officials.

Major achievements include

  • Interface was developed with multiple child care institutions in Orissa – issues related to child protection were discussed with a view to develop a common understanding that will enable collective action on the issue.
  • A state level consultative meeting has been organized on State Policy for Children & the State Commission for Children in conjunction with VCRO, the Orissa state alliance.
  • Collective advocacy with the Dept of Women and Child Development included discussions on drafting an anti begging policy in the state.

  • Children participated through representative collectives in the discussion processes.
  • The core group has been broad based both in terms of geographical coverage and in terms of persons from different professions.
  • Organized sessions with children in Institutions using art, theatre and other interactive forms for bringing out their issues.
  • Interaction of children with adults, especially the Government for taking into consideration children’s views on institutional care standards & other child protection issues.

The development of the core group’s ownership in taking forward the initiative collectively is remarkable. Advocacy with the Women and Child Development Department has resulted in a position where the government acknowledges the need for strengthening the Juvenile Justice system and partnering with the QIC&AC initiative for larger dissemination and ushering in changes in related policies. The systemic changes and attitude of the government in taking cognizance of child protection issues is an indicator of the scope to strengthen the Juvenile Justice system with active support from the government.

Plans

  • Issue mapping in five Zones.
  • From the issues, identify the stakeholders and develop strategies for addressing such issues.
  • Feed in the findings of the report to the government at the district and state level.
  • Advocate for anti child begging Act for the state and policy.
  • Pilot program of Muktangan.
  • Media advocacy on child protection.
  • Consolidating linkages with the VCRO network.
  • Training on the Juvenile Justice system in collaboration with Women and Child Department.
  • Strengthening the community based approach to child rights to protection.

ANNUAL FINANCIAL SUMMARY

  • Right to Protection
    $7,473
  • Administration
    $ 477
  • Total Grant Approved
    $7,950