Shocked that you are even asked such a question?
Sorry, but think again!
Do any of these problems affect your/our children, or
those of your family/friends, city state or our
society at large?
Chronic poor health & malnourishment, gender &
caste/community discrimination, education access
barriers or its poor quality, child labour, physical
or sexual abuse, environmental degradation, housing
lack or poor quality, disability, abandonment,
orphanhood, views unheard and no part in decisions
In greater or smaller measures, one or more such
problems affect most children.
Additionally, each phase of childhood has some special
Unto Three Years of Age: The Key Development Phase.
Death before first birthday or month: mostly
Female feticide with modern techniques or
Low Birth weight: survival or good health endangered.
No exclusive breastfeeding till six months; later,
poor supplementary feeding.
Preventable disabilities are not detected or treated
Motor, cognitive & emotive development is below par
among many [this age group sees over 90% of such
development in an individual].
Three to Six Years of Age:The Play and Learn Age
*Not in pre-schools of any type; often, these drill
children into school readiness with inappropriate
learning rather than use play methods for overall
Six to Fourteen Years of Age:The Foundation Years
* Not in school, or drop outs, due to problems in
school: access, treatment, teacher performance, basic
facilities, fees or other costs, malnourishment,
irrelevance; child labour, with girls especially put
to domestic chores, or married off.
Rote learning, heavy homework and school bags, endless
tuitions, exam pressures, narrow academic curriculum
and irrelevance, leading to lack of recreation,
stifling of curiosity, poor health, lop-sided
development and loss of childhood.
Family discord, alcoholism, poverty, parent's iron
control, communication lack, turn children off
leading to runaways,vagabonds, conflict with the law.
Parental expectations burden the school-goers; the
working child harassed.
The onset of adolescence ignored – no life skills,
health and sex education,
.Parental control still absolute with children's views
not being heard.
Discrimination, abuse, work, marriage for girls
shatter what is left of childhood.
Fourteen to eighteen Years – The Child on the Brink of
Not even considered childhood or even adolescence.
Gender disparities widen, abuse, especially sexual,
School-goer buried in a career path determined by
parent, divorced from life's realities; the working
child puffing on, mired in them; and the married girl
already an emotionally & physically unripe mother,
ruining her & her child's health.
Communication gap abysmal.
Maybe you are rightly happy and proud that your own
children do not suffer from these problems, that you
and your family are not violating their rights – not
their rights to an abuse-free and happy childhood, to
freedom from heavy school pressures and grilling, or
child labour, or gender discrimination; their rights
to recreation, development, expression, and a share
of the decision-making.
But have you/we no responsibility towards those
children who do suffer these?
Should we not ask why such children, and so many of
them, find their rights violated? The typical feeling
is that their families are totally responsible or that
it is the government's duty or some well-meaning
The former point is valid only in a literal sense, as
poor remuneration, lack of steady employment,lack of
education/skills & bad traditions conspire to pull
such families down. And, while it is certainly
government's duty and the NGOs' objective to remedy
the situation, the root causes are society's doing.
So, we do need to do something about this individually
Don't employ child labour but educate one from a needy
Practise gender parity at home and work and
Practise respect for diversity and not caste/community
Ensure fair remuneration to both organised and
Give children the chance to express their views, and
consider them seriously, particularly on matters that
Support good traditions and battle against bad ones.
Practise the one, two, three principle: one per cent
of your income, two of your time, and three of your
lobbying for children, their childhood, their rights.
ACT FOR AND WITH CHILDREN IN THEIR BEST INTERESTS.
SPEAK UP FOR THEM ALL THE TIME!
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