Vulnerable Children – Top of our Agenda
Norway is one of the countries which have a continued commitment towards vulnerable children. A huge funding of $82 million was donated by the Government of Norway to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for accelerating different programs including child protection in 2018. In addition, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg has received a golden opportunity to co-chair the UN Secretary-General’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ Advocates Group, further accelerating the momentum for achieving the goals.
Norway had already created benchmarks in the fields of education, health, and protection of vulnerable children. It will be able to further extend the quality services to safeguard the vulnerable children across the world embedding ‘The Leave No One Behind’ (LNOB) pledge, included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
All the agendas and goals seem to be viable only if the groundwork is kick-started from the grassroots level by educating the people across the world. It is more effective, if an illiterate villager in a poverty-ridden village can digest the concept of ‘vulnerable children’, we can go a long way in bettering the lives of powerless children. Our esteemed guest writer, Rajesh. T. V – shares his thoughts on the vulnerability of children across the world.
John (name changed) was born to vagabond parents. When his parents died in a road accident, he was just six years old, Tom (name changed), a close relative of his parents took advantage of the situation, under the garb of protecting the child, he sold little John to the notorious beggar gangs in the streets of Delhi, India. Since then, John’s daily routine starts at 4.00 am searching through heaps of garbage consisting of poisonous substances, human waste and medical waste with bare hands. After the ordeal, he has no respite but to rush to the railway station, where he is given a postal card by the gang members with the following information.
“My parents have passed away and I have no relatives to support me. So I request you to provide me with money.”
He gains at least $10 from every train trip and does at least five tips every day. But unfortunately, he has to fork out a major chunk of the money to his boss and at the end of the day, he gains as little as $1 if he is lucky.
When some private contractors saw John in the railway station, he was eating rotten and decayed food taken from the trash bin. They informed the child line authorities and were rescued.
If you think that vulnerable children like ‘John’ are exclusive to underdeveloped and developing countries you are wrong. They are also common in developed countries as well.
According to United Nation’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“An orphan or vulnerable child (OVC) is a child under the age of 18 whose mother, father, both parents or a primary caregiver has died, and who is in need of care or protection.”
According to Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa.
“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”
What Mandela has said was true – Collective consensus and public investments are the starting point of providing a safe environment for children.
The Collective consensus is all about the awareness regarding the vulnerability of the children and to find some solutions collaborating with stakeholders of the society- teachers, parents, doctors, politicians, bureaucrats and many others. If all the people are on the same page, then each one can contribute to the collective good of the society.
Lack of collective consensus can put the children’s lives at risk. Here is a case that will buttress the proposition. Monica (Name Changed) a minor child was lying unconscious in the pedestrian walkway in Mumbai, India, some auto drivers informed the police and she was taken to the hospital. On further police investigation, she narrated her mental suffering that she was sexually abused in a shelter home by her warden and escaped from the clutches of the exploiter by running away to the streets. Three days have passed without food and water. On the first day itself, somebody could have questioned her and supported her. It took three long days and that too only when she was inert did help came her way.
A society having a collective consensus will be different. Let us say that a man saw the girl on the first day roaming in the streets, he reports to the women friends, a small conversation between the girl and women follows and then the police are informed along with the doctor. The police investigate the matter and the girl is sent to the orphanage with proper security. By educating the common people they will become the access points of vulnerable children like Monica so that any possible cases of exploitation can be averted.
Yet another intriguing case happened in Kathmandu, Nepal, one child was brought to the hospital, doctor a specialist paediatrician and a child rights activist all rolled into one, did the diagnosis and confirmed a case of high fever and probed further to know more details about the child. The child though frail and crippled managed to communicate that he was engaged as a dishwasher in a posh hotel. Thanks to the swiftness of the doctor, he was immediately rescued from the backbreaking work. Here the doctor being an activist managed to extricate the child from the clutches of the powerful employer. In this context, the public investment would be – to make employers aware of the consequences of employing children, the outlay for the education of these children and investment in the cutting-edge technologies and gadgets to create a secured world.
Whether the child is vulnerable or not, it must be left to the denizens to decide, but longer the vulnerability, longer the recovery.
© Rajesh. T. V. / #Norway Today