To make Vijayawada a child-friendly city, Forum for Child Rights, a consortium of voluntary organisations and Government departments, has kicked off a fortnight-long campaign called “Child Line se Dosti.”

The Forum operates Child Line, a toll-free number (1098) which helps rescue children in distress. The objective of the campaign is to spread awareness on the need to protect the rights of children. Over the last few years, the Child Line facility has been widely used by the public to inform the authorities concerned about whereabouts of children in need of help.

The Childline received over two lakh calls that helped the authorities trace and rescue nearly 30,000 children. In the last four months, nearly 1200 children have been helped.

Reach out

Volunteers of the Forum fan out in public places like railway station, bus station, parks and cinema theatres where runaway kids are usually found.

The ongoing awareness drive includes a signature campaign involving auto drivers and rickshaw-pullers, going around railway station and educating people about Child Line, awareness programmes for college students, workshops for teachers, labour officers and officials of other allied departments, Suraksha Bandhan – children taken to all police stations in the city to tie wrist bands to the police personnel, to remove the fear of police from their minds, and games like cricket match and throw ball, Balala Kalayika (children forming a human chain) and girl child awareness programmes in communities and schools.

The focus is also on issues like mass campaign against child labour, discussion on Right to Education Act, its implementation and constitution of action groups, workshop on child rights and a candle light procession against child abuse. The drive will culminate in a meeting that will coincide with observance of International Child Rights on November 20.

Keywords: Child Rights