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Call to protect the girl child

Guwahati, Jan. 27: Social welfare minister Akon Bora has asked civil society groups and NGOs working for protection of the girl child to create mass awareness on the issue and called upon people to change their mindset and come forward to help all agencies.

The minister was speaking at a state-level consultation — Protection and Empowerment of the Girl Child in Assam: Translating Vision into Action — on Friday. The programme was organised by the department of social welfare, Assam, in collaboration with Unicef on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day.

Bora expressed concern at the rising instances of exploitation and trafficking of girls and said poverty was one of the main reasons why many girls had been forced into prostitution or had fallen prey to trafficking.

“Ensuring a safe and secure future for the girl child is necessary to guarantee a safe and stable future of the country,” he said, asking police to strengthen their efforts to jointly combat the problem.

He also released a community wall magazine developed by young reporters from the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.

Nilima Bhagabati of Gauhati University spoke on the steps required to promote girl child’s education.

Dr Vandana Joshi, nutrition specialist, Unicef, and Jeroo Master, chief, field office, Unicef Assam, spoke on the occasion.

Members of the adolescent girls’ group from the tea communities of Dibrugarh district presented a skit on the importance of education for the girl child.

The consultation discussed the various initiatives that have been taken to address the well being of the girl child through access to proper facilities and facilitation for their survival, development, education, protection and participation.