Children perform during the programme at Central Library in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
State social welfare minister Vimla Pradhan on Wednesday flagged off two vans, each carrying 10 volunteers, from Ranchi University’s Central Library as part of the government’s child rights awareness campaign.
The weeklong campaign, which is being organised by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in association with social organisations Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Save the Children, will see the volunteers making their way to different districts and sensitising the masses about the rights of a child and the evils of trafficking. The volunteers would thereafter compile a report on their findings and submit it to the child rights commission members for future action.
Wednesday’s event, christened “Voice of Children”, witnessed participation of 600 children who presented a host of cultural programmes to regale guest of honour Roop Lakshmi Munda, chairperson of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Addressing a gathering after flagging off the vans, Pradhan — the chief guest on the occasion — urged the residents to ensure that exploitation and trafficking of children, especially girls, was stopped. “The state government has introduced Mukhya Mantri Laxmi Ladli Yojana, which has come as a boon for the girls. The organisations that are working for trafficking victims can and should play a vital role in helping the state advocate child rights,” Pradhan said.
Echoing Pradhan, Lakshmi Munda said throughout the campaign the volunteers on board both the vans will get in touch with rural masses and sensitise them about child rights and the curse of trafficking.
“It is for the first time that we have launched such a campaign. The volunteers are expected to get in touch with village heads and collect information regarding the status of children in their panchayat areas,” she said.
Of the 600 children who took part in Wednesday’s programme, 200 are being tutored to appear for their matriculation examinations (through Ignou) at Chanho block-based Kishori Niketan rehabilitation centre run by Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. Of the remaining, 200 were dropouts belonging to child friendly villages of Chanho and Murhu block who were being imparted two hours of vocational training daily. The remaining were from Vikas Bharti, Bishunpur.
“Yahan par aa kar bahut khushi mil rahi hai (I feel very happy to be here),” an elated Soni Toppo (15) said.
Toppo, who stays at the Kishori Niketan in Chano block’s Bijupara, added that she was focussed and was preparing hard for her matriculation examinations.
Echoing Toppo, Rani Kumari, a Class X student of Vikas Bharti, Bishunpur, said: “After completing my education, I want to be a teacher”.