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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.
With CRY support, Bal Sakha has initiated community level intervention in 10 villages across two districts like Patna, and Bhagalpur to develop community based mechanism to create safe environment and safety net in the community for children. In these 10 villages BAL SAKHA is reaching out 1573 children with key focus to education, stopping child marriage and mainstreaming the child labour in the society. The basic objectives of this direct intervention is to experiment the child protection mechanism model in the village level as well also support the advocacy intervention in the state with the evidences.
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.
- To enhance the quality and standard of services in the government-run institutions meant for the juvenile, ensure mainstreaming of children into the community
- Advocate for activating CWC, JJB and other apparatus of the JJ systems in the state
- Build knowledge and capacities of government personnel engaged in the JJ systems like CWC /JJB members, Police and SJPU members
- Create awareness on child protection issues in the reference community
- Create awareness on availability of and access to governmental and non-governmental schemes for the reference community
- To develop community based mechanism for protection of child rights, particularly on child protection
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 to prepare them for raising voices and acting upon against the CR violation. 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.
The approach of Bal Sakha centres around the following – need-based action with the victim children (platform children, CCL, CNCP, runaway children, street children), bringing up discussions on CNCP and CCL in the larger domain of development discourse as well as advocacy with government for reforms in the juvenile justice system.
Through the review period, Bal Sakha operated Child Protection Centres and engaged with out-of-school children through these centres. Similarly village level community collectives were formed and inputs were shared with them to empower them to monitor the local status of child rights. In rural areas, adolescent groups played the role of vehicles of change that the organisation is seeking. 110 adolescent girls received trainings and inputs on different Child Rights issues such as Child Marriage, Child Labour, Importance of Girls Child Education, Sexual Abuse, began sharing community data on potential child marriages, child labour with field personnel and began dialogue with parents in such cases.
- 24 out of 451 drop-out children from Patna and 17 out of 49 drop-out children aged 6 – 18 yrs from Bhagalpur got enrolled in schools
- 11 out of 108 identified child labour cases as well as 53 never-enrolled children were enrolled into schools
- 1 case of sexual abuse was identified and acted upon
- 2 out of 13 underage child marriage cases were delayed
- In Patna 7 new Child Protection Centres (CPCs) opened with the help of community
- 2 CPCs are successfully running in two slums in Bhagalpur and reached to the drop out children of the community.
- Because of Bal Sakha’s advocacy, 17 members committee was formed in district level to monitor the JJ implementation as per the order of SC and High court direction
- 1112 Juvenile cases disposed through JJB by the repeated regular assistance of JACs.
- PILs filed by Bal Sakha resulted in several government orders to Juvenile Justice personnel in favour of children
- To identify out of school children, child laborers, migrated child laborers in the community, to make efforts to re-enrol them in the schools after removing them from work force
- To ensure access of all 6-14 years children of school, to ensure community monitoring over the schools to protect children from any kind of abuse, punishment
- To track children in the age group of 6-18 years to protect them from trafficking
- To develop a database of the children who are migrating and follow up with the parents
- To mobilize local community against child marriages and child trafficking
- CCL – Children in conflict with Law
- CNCP – Children in Need of Care and Protection
- JJB – Juvenile Justice Board
- JAC – Juvenile Aid Cell
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