A month-long series of events focussing on child rights and week-long “Childline se dosti” events were launched at “Chinnara Thangudhama” on Thursday to mark Children’s Day.

Asha Nayak, Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee, said though children are born as citizens of the nation, there are denied fundamental rights. It is imperative for the public to participate along with the government and non-governmental organisations to ensure that children are not deprived of their rights. “We have all seen children begging on the street or under-aged children working, but we have not done much. These set of programmes will go a long way in giving children their due rights,” she said.

Ritesh Shetty, vice-president of the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, inaugurated the celebrations. Ms. Nayak inaugurated the week-long “Childline se Dosti” programmes. To be held till December 15, this is the 10th year that the district had been observing the month-long series of programmes.

“Though we celebrate Children’s Day once a year, we have to ask how many children have dropped out of school due to economical or social problems during the rest of the year. Many are forced to beg, or carried around like a prop while others beg,” said Mr. Shetty.

There is a need to increase awareness among school-going children on the ills of consuming drugs so that they do not “fall into the trap” when they go to college, he said.

Drawing on her experience on children who have “fallen in the trap”, Hilda Rayappan, founder director of Prajna Counseling Centre, said a high number of college students use marijuana as it is easily available.

She urged the people to “get out of the mentality” that only children from the district or from the State need to be helped.

The month-long series of programmes will cover all departments, including the Police, which has formed Special Juvenile Police Units, and the Department of Women and Child Development.

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