India is home to close to 82.2 lakh children child labourers under 14 (Census 2011). Central theme of our work on addressing child laboour is to make child labour socially and culturally unacceptable. We work with state authorities & civil society organisations to free children engaged in labour and working to withdraw 50,000 child domestic workers from domestic help. We have been instrumental in the creation of a national child protection system.
Currently we are working across 2000 villages in all states of India to remove children from exploitative working conditions and rehabilitate them and support their education. Along with our action to remove children from exploitative working situations, we mobilize public opinion and demand policy and legislative action to abolish child labour in all its forms.
We provide opportunities and spaces for children to participate on issues which affect their life. Child participation is not a means to achieve project objectives, it is a right of these children. We listen to their views and learn from them. We promote meaningful and ethical child participation; this is an integral part of all our programmes across states.
Conflict and frequent disasters continue to scar a child's live. Each year, natural and manmade disasters affect an estimated 231 million people worldwide. Children are the most vulnerable to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence following an emergency. Our child protection in emergency response revolves around preventing family separation, exploitation, gender based violence, physical harm and providing psychosocial care and support to the affected children. Save the Children has a dedicated team as part of Child protection in Emergency (CPiE) and they respond to all major emergencies in India.
In different parts of India, we work relentlessly to ensure that children grow up healthy and enjoy a happy childhood.
Even today, 11.2 lakh children in India die before their first birthday. Every 25 seconds, a child under five years of age dies, mostly due to preventable causes such as infections and malnutrition. And most of these deaths occur due to preventable and treatable causes such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition.
It’s this utterly sad situation which firms our resolve to provide robust health and nutrition benefits to children and save lives. Almost 50% of our work for children is done in the area of Health & Nutrition. In different states of India, we’re passionately working to improve the health and nutrition status of newborns, mothers, and expecting women with special focus on those coming from the most disadvantaged communities.
Following are the areas we work in:
Healthcare Which Saves Lives
We go by the mantra that No Child is Born to Die. That is why we have projects in several states of India which are aimed at increasing the chances of survival of children between the ages of 0-5 years, reducing levels of malnutrition among them and improving newborn and maternal health. For example, through Project Karuna, we’ve been helping malnourished children in rural Varanasi leave behind a life of malnutrition and become healthy. In the urban slums of Delhi, we run Mobile Health Units which take healthcare to the doorsteps of the urban poor.
Our newly launched, ‘Stop Diarrhoea Initiative’ will tackle diarrhoea (the second biggest killer of children under 5) and related issues among the most vulnerable children in the urban slums of Delhi and rural areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
In 2014, 4.29 lakh children benefitted through our healthcare programmes
In all of this, we work engage heavily with the local community. We also work with state and district level government authorities, schools and Aanganwadi Centres. The Community Health Workers (CHWs) we train and work with form the backbone of our healthcare initiatives. To improve the hygiene and nutrition behaviour of the communities we work with and to inculcate the habits of healthy living, are among the ultimate aims of all our Health & Nutrition programmes.
One of the biggest myths is that children in orphanages or children’s home are there because they have no parents. This is not the case. The parents to most of them simply can’t afford to feed them, provide clothes or educate them. For government and charities, placing children in institutions is often seen as the most straightforward solution. We are working to develop alternatives that enable families and communities to provide the care that gives every child, the chance to thrive and which is every child’s right. Institutional care should be used as a last resort and only in the best interest of the individual child. Currently we are working in Satara districts of Maharashtra to promote family, kinship and other alternative care. During this time we are also trying to provide support to 500 children’s home/orphanages run by government and non government agencies to improve their care and protection standards.