Kochi

Sarana Balyam comes to the rescue of children in distress

Four children have been rescued and several nomadic groups comprising children and toddlers have been sent back to their respective States from the district so far this year under the Sarana Balyam project of the Department of Women and Child Development. The project is implemented through the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU).

Since the project gathered momentum this year, the DCPU has conducted 12 drives. Among the children rescued was a 13-year-old girl from Coimbatore who was found engaged in labour at North Paravur. She was promptly rescued, while the police registered a case of child labour. The girl was temporarily sheltered in a girls’ home before being restored with her parents.

The other three children were rescued after they were found to be in need of care and protection. A 13-year-old boy from Cherai and a 15-year-old girl from Muvattupuzha were restored with their parents, while another 14-year-old girl from Kuttampuzha remains in a girls’ home.

Rescued children are produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and are either moved to shelter homes or restored with their parents as decided by it.

“While the rescued girls are temporarily sheltered in government girls’ homes, we are dependent on shelter homes run mostly by NGOs for temporarily sheltering rescued boys. A proposal to convert a building of Palluruthy Don Bosco into a separate open shelter for boys has been submitted to the government,” said DCPU officer K.B. Zaina. The drives held in the eastern suburbs of the district, including Aluva, Muvattupuzha, and Perumbavoor, led to numerous nomadic groups being sent back to their respective States. Ms. Zaina said setting up temporary shelters for children, including toddlers, among nomads was a challenge owing to the sheer size of the groups and the fact that toddlers could not be sheltered without their mothers.

A district task force with the Collector as chairman and the DCPU officer as convener has been formed for implementing the project. It also comprises the District Labour Officer, Forest Officer, City and Rural District Police Chiefs, District Medical Officer, and representatives of the Legal Services Authority, Excise, State CWC, Childline, and the rescue officer attached to the DCPU.

The project is expected to gain more traction as and when the rescue officer is appointed. The process had got held up after the model code of conduct came into force.

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Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 5:57:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/sarana-balyam-comes-to-the-rescue-of-children-in-distress/article27585615.ece

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