What’s the Initiative all about & How it works?
DEHAT’s “Protecting Our Future” Initiative seeks to facilitate long-term children’s rehabilitation and to advocate for children’s rights and protection nationwide. As Child Protection is our one of the high-priority issue, we have collaborated with CHILDLINE India Foundation which enabled us to provide 24/7 toll-free emergency phone service for children in need of care and protection, and works to secure their immediate safety and link them to long-term rehabilitation.
Furthermore, Protecting Our Future‘s goal is to connect child protection systems in India and Nepal in order to create a stronger network for tracking missing children in the Indo-Nepal border region and to provide long-term relief and rehabilitation to victims of child trafficking. DEHAT has initiated it’s Child-Protection Network for missing and trafficked children in the Indo-Nepal border region, where cross-border trafficking forces thousands of children each year into bonded labor. Partnering with organizations in the other 22 border districts in West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh, we’re now accessible to all the Indo-Nepal Trafficking highlighted zones and able to help in preventing thousands of trafficking cases. In addition to conducting rescue operations for missing children, DEHAT’s Child Protection Network seeks to develop systems for tracking and rehabilitating victims of child trafficking, and to improve communication and cooperation between stakeholders in both India and Nepal.
DEHAT’s Child-Protection network now spans over more than 300 organizations across the rural and urban India.
DEHAT’s Child Protection Network focuses, in particular, on marginalized groups of children; in border and high alerted trafficking regions, the most prevalent issues are those of missing children, child trafficking across the Indo-Nepal border, and child runaways.
How do we do it?
Keeping our core focus on United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), we have divided our child protection activities into three levels. Click on a level to know about each one:
At The Micro Level
- We respond to all calls to the 1098 hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We immediately rescue children in need and connect them to medical help, shelter, and protection from abuse, and/or counselling according to their needs.
- We work with partner networks and Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) to rehabilitate and return children to their families.
- Thorough documentation and tracking of each child we ensure that they reach home quickly and safely.
- Through door-to-door contacts, open houses, and tent activities, we spread community awareness about child rights, and we educate families on how to handle trafficking or missing children.
- Regular children’s meetings allow children to voice their own concerns and ensure that changes are best serving their needs.
- We rehabilitate many of the trafficked children in school, and provided their fees, books, and uniforms. Hundreds of the children and their families are benefiting from vocational training programmes in tailoring, sales & retail, and electronics/auto repair.
At The Mezzo Level
- Our booth for lost children during fairs and public occasions protects children from abductors and safely returns them to their families when proper and thorough legal identification is shown if they become lost during events.
- City mapping of child rights violations highlights high-need areas for outreach and intervention.
- Regional DEHAT-CHILDLINE meetings improve staff capacity and share best practices across districts.
- We coordinate with police, railways, Health and Labor departments, and other government or volunteer services to rescue children as far away as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- We work with state governments, local companies, district administration, village panchayats, community volunteer organizations, and academic institutions to create child-friendly systems.
- We build & strengthen system of stakeholder networks through workshops and meetings with media, advocates, civil society members, lawyers, government officials, and border security forces sensitize key stakeholders and strengthens child protection networks in both India and Nepal.
At The Macro Level
- We collect data on rescued and rehabilitated children for CHILDLINE’s national database on child protection.
- We support national efforts to track missing children from across the India and Nepal.
- We catalyze the government, corporations, and volunteer agencies to bridge gaps in current programmes, improve the use of technology in child tracking and repatriation, and increase budgeting for child protective services.
- We Map highlighted Indo-Nepal Border Districts, including: demographic profiles of the districts, the number of missing and trafficked children, the number of families affected, and the number of children in these families.