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Background

Basundhara was established in the year 1985, in response to the needs of women and children – the most vulnerable sections in our society. In order to cater to the segment of vulnerable children and women, Basundhara started running an institution with the objective of rehabilitation of the children. The organization in due course understood the need for finding ways of de-institutionalizing. Finding alternative care for children in Institutional setups through adoption, resulted in Basundhara working in the field of Adoption. It also entailed working with the Juvenile Justice (JJ) system in the state of Orissa and advocating with the Government to herald in the State rules for 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 is the founder of the Utkal Mahila Samiti, a member of the Child Welfare Committee and the Indian Red Cross Society, Orissa branch. She is also a member of the Board of Control of Orphanages & Child Care Institutions & an executive member of 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, they have failed to deliver because of the apathetic attitude of the people in power and a corrupt system.

A host of child protection issues are at stake in this region. Children are being affected due to displacement in the name of development and conservation of the environment. With the onslaught of rapid industrialization, people are forced from their agricultural subsistence, 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, 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

  • Strengthen the implementation of the Juvenile Justice system in the state
  • Find opportunities for community based rehabilitation to prevent children from being institutionalized and promote alternative care
  • Create a safe environment for children in difficult circumstances with an emphasis on building collective ownership
  • To ensure the government's role and accountability in child protection issues in the State

Review and Impact


Basundhara has been engaged with the CCRP intervention almost since the inception of the initiative. The Coalition for Child Rights to Protection (CCRP) initiative is an attempt to create a synergy by linking the organizations working in Institutions to evolve standards of quality care and protection for children. It is also an attempt to collectively advocate for alternative care – trying to look at institutionalization as the last resort where family or parental care is not in the best interest of the child. The program evolves from the child rights convention principles and Juvenile Justice Act provisions.

The uniqueness about this initiative is not only in addressing the issues of children residing in Institutions & Homes, but it has also been successful in creating pressure on the government authorities through advocacy with support from a core group of professionals engaged with the initiative. Community based approach is the premise of the initiative whereby the main emphasis is laid on mobilizing the local community on child protection issues and against child rights violations.


Highlights in the review period include:

  • Basundhara initiated interface in 4 slums of Cuttack to help children in need of care and protection through community support and action.
  • Rehabilitation through adoption was followed through – 35 adoption cases completed within India and 32 such cases outside Indian boundaries.
  • Through consistent efforts, Basundhara succeeded in activating Child Welfare Committees in 2 districts out of the 7 districts where such committees are needed.
  • Extended flood relief support was given to victims in affected areas, with a focus on rehabilitation of women and children.

Plans

  • Finalizing and sharing monitoring indicators to map status of Children in Conflict with the Law.
  • 4 core groups to be strengthened and new members included.
  • Identifying community leaders and children with leadership qualities.
  • Forming community collectives and awareness building on the Right to Protection issues
  • .
  • Study and analyze slum dynamics and engagement of children in different activities, identify the general issues affecting children to understand the care and protection needs of all children and define plans accordingly.
  • Promote the rehabilitation of all children, particularly Children in Need of Care and Protection.
  • Updating the database of child care institutions for Orissa state.
  • Advocacy for State Commission for Children and ensure legal intervention for the State Commission for Children.

ANNUAL FINANCIAL SUMMARY

  • Advocacy On Child Protection
    $11,847
  • Administration
    $759
  • Total Grant Approved
    $12,606