Kaval clubs to keep youngsters from bad company


Project initiated by District Child Protection Unit aims to integrate adolescents in conflict with law into mainstream society

In a novel initiative aimed at shielding children from vulnerable backgrounds from going astray, the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) has started forming clubs for a meaningful engagement of adolescent boys and girls while building a community support system for them.

The first such club, the first of its kind anywhere in the State, set up at Amritakudeeram Colony in Ambalamedu more than two months ago, now has 25 members. The initiative is being implemented under Kaval, a project of the Department of Women and Child Development for the integration of children in conflict with law into mainstream society.

“We are planning to set up four more clubs in colonies where children were found to be particularly vulnerable based on a verification done under Kaval. Pozhimala Colony at Piravom, Udaya Colony at Kadavanthra, Fishermen Colony at Fort Kochi, and Keerelimala Colony at Kakkanad will have similar clubs shortly,” Mridhula Vincent, legal-cum-probation officer, DCPU, told The Hindu.

The clubs are being set up with the participation of the community, including Kudumbashree members, social and political activists, and enforcement agencies such as the police and Excise. The concept was borne out of the realisation that successful social integration of children in conflict with law would not be possible without the active and responsible involvement of their immediate community.

Rajagiri Outreach, one of the two NGOs associated with Kaval, was instrumental in forming the first club at Ambalamedu. “Many vacant houses in Amritakudeeram Colony were in danger of being turned into hubs of substance abusers and anti-social elements when we decided to intervene and wean away youngsters into more meaningful things. Initially, we conducted a self-defence session for adolescent girls in the area with the support of the police. Later, we wooed in adolescent boys by offering the opportunity of playing football and distributed sports kits,” said Sajo Joy, coordinator of Kaval, Rajagiri Outreach.

Now, the club members meet on all Sundays whenever possible, and at least a programme is organised for them in a month. For instance, they were recently imparted skill development training under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana. With the inclusion of the colony under the State government’s LIFE Mission project for the homeless, the families may be moved out temporarily. “But we have ensured that weekly meetings and programmes will continue unhindered notwithstanding that,” said Mr. Joy.

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Printable version | Nov 17, 2019 1:05:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kaval-clubs-to-keep-youngsters-from-bad-company/article29926689.ece

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