Keeping children safe and free from harm is what we believe in and what we do. The Child Protection Programme is a core sector of our work. Children pushed into child labour, children facing abuse in the community, children trafficked, children affected by a calamity or emergency situation – Save the Children works to protect children from different kinds of harms – abuse, neglect, exploitation, physical danger, and violence. Despite the rampant economic growth in the last two decades, lakhs of children in India continue to be exposed to different forms of exploitation – mental and physical. For example, a shocking 12.6 lakh children are still into the abhorrent practice of child labour which is destroying their childhood. A simple premise that every child deserves a happy and safe childhood is what drives us to run projects in the remotest parts of India to protect children from harm.
How do we do it?
We work with the most disadvantaged local communities, sensitizing and educating them about the rights of children to help them understand that children are meant to be at school and not work. We form Children Groups through which we bring together vulnerable children in a community. These children then collectively work our solutions to help themselves and each other and ensure child rights in their area are upheld. We work very closely with these Children Groups and train them to identify and prevent cases of child marriage, child trafficking, child abuse and child labour. We map out-of-school children, street children and those who are involved in child labour and facilitate their movement into schools by the means of enrolment drives.
In recent years child marriage has gained increasing prominence on international and national development agendas. Today, we have a unique opportunity to act on this momentum and accelerate our efforts to help change the lives of girls and young women all over the world. Ending child marriage requires work across all sectors and at all levels. It requires us to understand the complex drivers behind the practice in different contexts and adapt our interventions accordingly. Ending child marriage also requires increased, targeted investments from both international donors and governments in high prevalence countries. The funding that is currently available is nowhere near large enough to match the scale of child marriage worldwide.
Laws that set a minimum age of marriage are an important way to safeguard boys and girls from being married before they are ready. It is important that children are recognised in the law as being children and that they are accorded the full protection of the law. Governments need to have clear and consistent legislation that establishes 18 as the minimum age of marriage. Adequate safeguards must be in place to ensure that parental consent or other exceptions are not used to force girls into marriage. The existence of laws that set a minimum age for marriage is an important tool that helps those working to dissuade families and communities from marrying off their daughters as children.
We are a registered Non-Government Organization (NGO) in Delhi.