The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 23 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Open forum for girls

Jharkhand has decided to give a voice to vulnerable girls in villages and outskirts so that it can realistically devise ways to offer them a safe environment.

Kishori Maha Panchayat, a public hearing platform for around 5,000 girls comprising Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya students, dropouts, trafficking victims and others, will be held at Zilla School, Ranchi, on Thursday.

The girls will interface with members of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), officials of labour, HRD and social welfare departments as well as representatives of civil societies.

Chairperson of SCPCR Rooplakshmi Munda confirmed to The Telegraph that around 5,000 girls were expected to be present during the function. Commission member Sanjay Mishra added that the state-level public hearing would go on for four hours.

“We don’t want to rush anything. We want rural girls to get the confidence to speak up and voice their problems, which they are unable to do due to the lack of a proper support system. In rural areas, girls face a plethora of problems at home and in school. They are overburdened with household work. Some fail to perform in schools, some face rejection from society and parents after coming back from cities, some have health and hygiene complications,” he said.

Mishra said something as basic as the lack of a toilet in school or the absence of a separate one for girls might be a huge source of worry. Lack of toilets and a huge walking distance between home and school are triggers for girls to drop out of school entirely.

He added that female illiteracy and girls dropping out of school were related to wider issues of trafficking. “We will try to solve most of the problems on the spot. In some cases, if intensive probe is required, we will take help of government officials and civil society members,” he added.

Hearing apart, the girls will also undergo a medical check-up, including for vision and anaemia. Counselling sessions with tips on mental strength and defusing stress will also be made available.