12 children will meet the Chief Minister and talk about their problems
On the occasion of Children's Day, 12 youngsters from across the State will be picked for a special date with Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda at the Vidhana Soudha.
The Chief Minister will grant an audience on November 15 to these children representing diverse backgrounds such as those who are HIV-positive, have disabilities, or have been rescued from child labour or sex work.
As a run-up to the event, 60 children from 30 districts, and 20 more from Bangalore city, will hold a ‘children's parliament' on November 14 (Children's Day), to chose their 12 representatives who will present their case before the Chief Minister.
Nagasimha G. Rao from the Child Rights Trust told The Hindu that they have requested representatives from each government department to be present at the interaction. “The reason is that each department is a stakeholder. For example, if there is someone from the Excise Department, we will be able to show them how underage drinking leads to problems such as delinquency,” he explained.
Vasudev Tolabandi, director of the Ujwala Rural Development Service Society, which works for HIV-positive children in Bijapur and Bagalkot, is hoping to raise the issue of establishing institutional care for HIV-positive children in each district, a longstanding demand.
“As we can't send HIV-affected children because they are too young, we are sending two representatives who have been working with these children for over 10 years. Our main demand will be to establish institutional care for HIV-positive children,” he said.
In Bagalkot, Belgaum and Bijapur districts, there is high prevalence of HIV-positive cases; Bagalkot alone has 2,500 HIV-positive children below 14 years of age while Bijapur has 1,200.
These children must not be discriminated against, and require nutritious food, education, and socio-psychological support, he said.
Anand S.N., project manager at Mobility India, Chamarajanagar, said the children representing those with disabilities would ask for proper implementation of the ‘children's gram sabha' at the panchayat level.
“The Government order regarding the same remains only in file,” Mr. Anand lamented.