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Poverty forces Kerala children to eat mud to survive

An alcoholic husband has pushed Sridevi and her six kids to this situation

04 Dec 2019

poverty

Talking about dire poverty in the country and living in dire poverty are two completely different things. An example of this came to light when Kerala woke up to reports of a woman whose children were found to be eating mud out of sheer hunger.

Sridevi, who lived with her six kids in a makeshift shanty of 50 sq. ft on railway land, around 3 km from the State Secretariat at Kaithamukku in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, made a distress call to the toll-free helpline of Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) on December 1 after she couldn’t bear the plight of her children anymore.

Reports by The Times of India say that the incident came to light when the headmistress of the government school where the eldest child is enrolled, asked him about his living conditions.

The headmistress states that the boy, aged seven, told her that their alcoholic father would physically abuse all of them, beat them and smash their heads against the wall. He spared the two youngest children who are still being breastfed. He also allegedly would throw mud into their food or leave them and their mother starving, the neighbours told TOI. However, Sridevi hasn’t spoken a word about this.

The school then promptly alerted Childline that works for the welfare of children across the country.

The KSCCW general secretary S P Deepak who visited the family found their situation shocking. He said, “The kids only had water for the past two days. One boy was seen eating mud out of hunger.”

The KSCCW then asked Sridevi if she was willing to hand over the children to them for better care and she agreed. Now, the four kids – two boys aged seven years and five years and two girls aged four and two, will be under the care of the government. The other two kids who are still being breastfed, will be provided for by the government as well.

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Sreekumar has offered Sridevi a temporary cleaning job at the Corporation office and a house being constructed under the Corporation’s housing scheme Life Mission, will also be provided to her and her kids. She also didn’t have a ration card, which was just provided to her by the state in a haste. In the interim, she has been shifted to the MahilaMandiram at Poojappura with her kids. Sridevi will now earn a daily wage of Rs. 650, Manorama Online reported.

Health Minister KK Shailaja told the media that all the four kids, whose medical examination will be conducted at the SAT Hospital soon, will be under the protection of the government. Many voluntary organizations have also come out in support of the family.
 

Poverty in Kerala

According to the World Bank Report of 2017, Kerala has experienced a steady decline in poverty since 1994. According to the report, after 2005, Kerala grew and reduced poverty faster than many states, but while it is home to a smaller share of the poor in the country, there are pockets within the state that have recorded a higher incidence of poverty.

According to the State Planning Board, in Kerala, factors such as land reforms, public distribution systems schemes, Kudumbashree and Planning schemes have effectively brought down poverty ratios. In 2011-12, Kerala’s poverty stood at 7.1%, second only to Goa at 5.1%.

Yet, Kerala, in the recent years has always been battered by floods and other natural calamities that has resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods. Tracking the current rate of poverty in India is difficult because there are no statistics available after 2012.

However, going by the numbers we have, it looks like Sridevi was one of the unfortunate ones bereft of the social benefits provided by the state.


Domestic Violence and violence against children in Kerala

According to a report by the National Commission of Women (NCW) 2005, almost 80% of the victims of domestic violence were in the age group of 20-40 years and only 68% of women in the 14 districts sampled had secondary / higher secondary education.

67.1% respondents did not have life savings and in 57.9% households, the family affairs were controlled by the husband. 75.4% of the husbands in the households were alcoholics and almost half, 48.7% respondents stated the ‘alcoholic nature’ of the husband as the first cause of domestic violence.

Literate Kerala has also seen an upsurge in crimes against children with the number going up from 549 in 2008 to 4,008 in 2018. (The New Indian Express). Most of these crimes have gone unreported because they have been committed by people known to the children. Though the Kerala government also put up neighbourhood vigilance schemes in 2013, they do not seem to have worked.

It is ironical that Kerala, a state that takes pride in its progress, cannot protect its children. This battle that Sridevi is fighting is not just against poverty. It is a multi-layered issue involving destitution, social benefits, violence and the security of children. She was rescued from her situation because she finally wrestled her way out of it for her children by contacting the government. But there are many others who do not have the knowledge or the means to get them out of such situations. Then, will the government of Kerala, for that matter the government of India take stock of the matter and bring the neglected into their fold before matters get worse?


Related:

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change
Criminal Callousness of Modi Government in Hiding Data
38% Of Indian Children Under 4–Poor And Rich Alike–Are Stunted: Study

 

Poverty forces Kerala children to eat mud to survive

An alcoholic husband has pushed Sridevi and her six kids to this situation

poverty

Talking about dire poverty in the country and living in dire poverty are two completely different things. An example of this came to light when Kerala woke up to reports of a woman whose children were found to be eating mud out of sheer hunger.

Sridevi, who lived with her six kids in a makeshift shanty of 50 sq. ft on railway land, around 3 km from the State Secretariat at Kaithamukku in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, made a distress call to the toll-free helpline of Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW) on December 1 after she couldn’t bear the plight of her children anymore.

Reports by The Times of India say that the incident came to light when the headmistress of the government school where the eldest child is enrolled, asked him about his living conditions.

The headmistress states that the boy, aged seven, told her that their alcoholic father would physically abuse all of them, beat them and smash their heads against the wall. He spared the two youngest children who are still being breastfed. He also allegedly would throw mud into their food or leave them and their mother starving, the neighbours told TOI. However, Sridevi hasn’t spoken a word about this.

The school then promptly alerted Childline that works for the welfare of children across the country.

The KSCCW general secretary S P Deepak who visited the family found their situation shocking. He said, “The kids only had water for the past two days. One boy was seen eating mud out of hunger.”

The KSCCW then asked Sridevi if she was willing to hand over the children to them for better care and she agreed. Now, the four kids – two boys aged seven years and five years and two girls aged four and two, will be under the care of the government. The other two kids who are still being breastfed, will be provided for by the government as well.

Thiruvananthapuram Mayor K Sreekumar has offered Sridevi a temporary cleaning job at the Corporation office and a house being constructed under the Corporation’s housing scheme Life Mission, will also be provided to her and her kids. She also didn’t have a ration card, which was just provided to her by the state in a haste. In the interim, she has been shifted to the MahilaMandiram at Poojappura with her kids. Sridevi will now earn a daily wage of Rs. 650, Manorama Online reported.

Health Minister KK Shailaja told the media that all the four kids, whose medical examination will be conducted at the SAT Hospital soon, will be under the protection of the government. Many voluntary organizations have also come out in support of the family.
 

Poverty in Kerala

According to the World Bank Report of 2017, Kerala has experienced a steady decline in poverty since 1994. According to the report, after 2005, Kerala grew and reduced poverty faster than many states, but while it is home to a smaller share of the poor in the country, there are pockets within the state that have recorded a higher incidence of poverty.

According to the State Planning Board, in Kerala, factors such as land reforms, public distribution systems schemes, Kudumbashree and Planning schemes have effectively brought down poverty ratios. In 2011-12, Kerala’s poverty stood at 7.1%, second only to Goa at 5.1%.

Yet, Kerala, in the recent years has always been battered by floods and other natural calamities that has resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods. Tracking the current rate of poverty in India is difficult because there are no statistics available after 2012.

However, going by the numbers we have, it looks like Sridevi was one of the unfortunate ones bereft of the social benefits provided by the state.


Domestic Violence and violence against children in Kerala

According to a report by the National Commission of Women (NCW) 2005, almost 80% of the victims of domestic violence were in the age group of 20-40 years and only 68% of women in the 14 districts sampled had secondary / higher secondary education.

67.1% respondents did not have life savings and in 57.9% households, the family affairs were controlled by the husband. 75.4% of the husbands in the households were alcoholics and almost half, 48.7% respondents stated the ‘alcoholic nature’ of the husband as the first cause of domestic violence.

Literate Kerala has also seen an upsurge in crimes against children with the number going up from 549 in 2008 to 4,008 in 2018. (The New Indian Express). Most of these crimes have gone unreported because they have been committed by people known to the children. Though the Kerala government also put up neighbourhood vigilance schemes in 2013, they do not seem to have worked.

It is ironical that Kerala, a state that takes pride in its progress, cannot protect its children. This battle that Sridevi is fighting is not just against poverty. It is a multi-layered issue involving destitution, social benefits, violence and the security of children. She was rescued from her situation because she finally wrestled her way out of it for her children by contacting the government. But there are many others who do not have the knowledge or the means to get them out of such situations. Then, will the government of Kerala, for that matter the government of India take stock of the matter and bring the neglected into their fold before matters get worse?


Related:

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change
Criminal Callousness of Modi Government in Hiding Data
38% Of Indian Children Under 4–Poor And Rich Alike–Are Stunted: Study

 

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No country for children: 35-year-old rapes, murders 8-year-old in Karnataka

The accused approached the girl near her school and lured her away with chocolates

04 Dec 2019

child rape

In a matter of utmost shame, after the heinous rape and murder of the 27 –year-old veterinarian doctor in Hyderabad, news of the alleged rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Karnataka has emerged.

The horrifying incident of child sexual abuse and murder surfaced in Karnataka’s Kalaburgi on Monday evening when the police found the body of an 8-year-old girl near a storm water drain which was found after a search operation since the girl had gone missing.

The Kalaburgi police have arrested a 35-year-old man from the same village in connection with the incident. The girl who was absent from school on Monday morning, was seen with the man, Yellappa, by some villagers. He had allegedly gone to the government school where she studies in grade 2 and lured her by offering to buy her a chocolate. After the girl did not return home at 4.30 pm as usual, her worried parents rushed to school to enquire about their daughter only to be informed that she hadn’t come to school. The teachers thought she had taken the day off.

The parents then rushed to Sulepet police station where they filed a missing persons report. A team of six police officers was formed to look for her and the parents too formed a search party along with the residents of the village. At around 7.30 PM, the residents found a dress near a plot next to the storm water drain, which looked like it belonged to a little girl. They spotted the body in the canal of the Mullamari irrigation project located behind the Anganwadi centre in the village.

The police told The News Minute that the girl’s throat had been slit and she was stabbed multiple times. “We found a pair of men’s underwear near the girl’s body. When we found Yellappa, he was near the village square. His clothes were bloody and he was drunk. He was drunk when he abducted the girl. We took him into custody and questioned him,” Sulepet Police told TNM.

According to reports by TNM, Yellappa confessed to sexually assaulting and then murdering the girl. “When we arrested him, he kept saying that she did not listen to him. He was incoherent. After he became sober, we questioned him once more and he confessed to sexually assaulting and killing the girl,” the police added.

Kalaburagi Superintendent of Police Lada Martin Marbaniang confirmed the incident to IndianExpress.com and said, “A case has been registered on Monday and we are investigating.”He also said that the medical examination would confirm the details including the cause of death, but they had booked Yellappa for rape and murder and their investigation was oriented towards the same as the girl was found partially disrobed with marks of strangulation on her body.

The Sulepet police have booked Yellappa under Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and sections 3(b)(2) (penetrative sexual assault) and 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.

According to a report by the Economic Times, the Union government has proposed to set up a total of 1.023 fast-track special courts to speed-up trials of over 1.66 lakh pending cases of crime against women and children across the nation. These courts are supposed to give verdicts to at least 165 cases per year. Out of the 1,023, 389 courts are to exclusively handle cases registered under the POCSO Act.

The Department of Justice had earmarked a total budget of Rs. 767.25 crore for the same and Rs. 474 crore for one year would be given by the Centre from the Nirbhaya Fund which was created by the Centre in 2013 after the monstrous rape and murder of a student in Delhi.

However, it has come to light that the Nirbhaya Fund that has a corpus of Rs. 10 billion, has been utilized by only 4 out of the 12 states that were granted funds. What are the states doing with the money if not utilizing it for what it was meant?

According to the last statistics in 2016, over 90,000 cases registered under the POCSO Act were pending trial. 36,022 cases had been registered in 2016 itself and 15,283 were pending investigation.

The Crime in India 2017 report by the National Crime Records Bureau in October 2019, show that violence against women has risen by 83% since 2007. It mentioned that 43.2% of rape survivors were minors, under the age of 18.

If one checks news reports, there are more than 6 cases in November alone were minors were raped all over the country. Just this week, we reported of how a rape bid on a 4year-old by a 35 year-old man was thwarted in Nagpur. The Justice Verma Committee Report 2013 had made some recommendations to make public spaces safe for women, even those have not been completely implemented.

On paper, everything has been listed out elaborately. On the ground, there has been no implementation made and the proof is for everyone to see. Public outrage will only do so much, but whom does the onus really lie on?


Related:

NHRC, Delhi High Court spring into action, pull up governments on women’s safety measures, utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund
Revisiting the Justice Verma Committee report of 2013: #JusticeForRapeVictims
35 year-old attempts to rape 4 year-old, paraded naked: Nagpur
A Look into the Kerala Double POCSO-Suicide Case
Death Penalty In POCSO Act Imperils Child Victims Of Sexual Offences
In R City Mall, Kidzania attendant molests two girls during their school trip: Mumbai
Tamil Nadu: 13-year-old girl beheaded for refusing sexual advances
Why India’s Children Must Wait Till 2022 To Get Justice Under Law Meant To Protect Them

 

No country for children: 35-year-old rapes, murders 8-year-old in Karnataka

The accused approached the girl near her school and lured her away with chocolates

child rape

In a matter of utmost shame, after the heinous rape and murder of the 27 –year-old veterinarian doctor in Hyderabad, news of the alleged rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Karnataka has emerged.

The horrifying incident of child sexual abuse and murder surfaced in Karnataka’s Kalaburgi on Monday evening when the police found the body of an 8-year-old girl near a storm water drain which was found after a search operation since the girl had gone missing.

The Kalaburgi police have arrested a 35-year-old man from the same village in connection with the incident. The girl who was absent from school on Monday morning, was seen with the man, Yellappa, by some villagers. He had allegedly gone to the government school where she studies in grade 2 and lured her by offering to buy her a chocolate. After the girl did not return home at 4.30 pm as usual, her worried parents rushed to school to enquire about their daughter only to be informed that she hadn’t come to school. The teachers thought she had taken the day off.

The parents then rushed to Sulepet police station where they filed a missing persons report. A team of six police officers was formed to look for her and the parents too formed a search party along with the residents of the village. At around 7.30 PM, the residents found a dress near a plot next to the storm water drain, which looked like it belonged to a little girl. They spotted the body in the canal of the Mullamari irrigation project located behind the Anganwadi centre in the village.

The police told The News Minute that the girl’s throat had been slit and she was stabbed multiple times. “We found a pair of men’s underwear near the girl’s body. When we found Yellappa, he was near the village square. His clothes were bloody and he was drunk. He was drunk when he abducted the girl. We took him into custody and questioned him,” Sulepet Police told TNM.

According to reports by TNM, Yellappa confessed to sexually assaulting and then murdering the girl. “When we arrested him, he kept saying that she did not listen to him. He was incoherent. After he became sober, we questioned him once more and he confessed to sexually assaulting and killing the girl,” the police added.

Kalaburagi Superintendent of Police Lada Martin Marbaniang confirmed the incident to IndianExpress.com and said, “A case has been registered on Monday and we are investigating.”He also said that the medical examination would confirm the details including the cause of death, but they had booked Yellappa for rape and murder and their investigation was oriented towards the same as the girl was found partially disrobed with marks of strangulation on her body.

The Sulepet police have booked Yellappa under Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and sections 3(b)(2) (penetrative sexual assault) and 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.

According to a report by the Economic Times, the Union government has proposed to set up a total of 1.023 fast-track special courts to speed-up trials of over 1.66 lakh pending cases of crime against women and children across the nation. These courts are supposed to give verdicts to at least 165 cases per year. Out of the 1,023, 389 courts are to exclusively handle cases registered under the POCSO Act.

The Department of Justice had earmarked a total budget of Rs. 767.25 crore for the same and Rs. 474 crore for one year would be given by the Centre from the Nirbhaya Fund which was created by the Centre in 2013 after the monstrous rape and murder of a student in Delhi.

However, it has come to light that the Nirbhaya Fund that has a corpus of Rs. 10 billion, has been utilized by only 4 out of the 12 states that were granted funds. What are the states doing with the money if not utilizing it for what it was meant?

According to the last statistics in 2016, over 90,000 cases registered under the POCSO Act were pending trial. 36,022 cases had been registered in 2016 itself and 15,283 were pending investigation.

The Crime in India 2017 report by the National Crime Records Bureau in October 2019, show that violence against women has risen by 83% since 2007. It mentioned that 43.2% of rape survivors were minors, under the age of 18.

If one checks news reports, there are more than 6 cases in November alone were minors were raped all over the country. Just this week, we reported of how a rape bid on a 4year-old by a 35 year-old man was thwarted in Nagpur. The Justice Verma Committee Report 2013 had made some recommendations to make public spaces safe for women, even those have not been completely implemented.

On paper, everything has been listed out elaborately. On the ground, there has been no implementation made and the proof is for everyone to see. Public outrage will only do so much, but whom does the onus really lie on?


Related:

NHRC, Delhi High Court spring into action, pull up governments on women’s safety measures, utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund
Revisiting the Justice Verma Committee report of 2013: #JusticeForRapeVictims
35 year-old attempts to rape 4 year-old, paraded naked: Nagpur
A Look into the Kerala Double POCSO-Suicide Case
Death Penalty In POCSO Act Imperils Child Victims Of Sexual Offences
In R City Mall, Kidzania attendant molests two girls during their school trip: Mumbai
Tamil Nadu: 13-year-old girl beheaded for refusing sexual advances
Why India’s Children Must Wait Till 2022 To Get Justice Under Law Meant To Protect Them

 

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UP: Days after milk adulteration scandal, vermin found in Mid-Day Meal dal

On December 3, a dead rat was found in a mid-day meal (MDM) served to middle school students in UP’s Muzaffarnagar.

04 Dec 2019

mid-day meal

News18 reported that the incident took place in Janta Inter College at Pachenda in the Mustafabad area. The rat was found in the dal cooked for students enrolled in the school between Class 6 and 8.

Nine students and one teacher who was required to taste-test the meal before its distribution complained of their health deteriorating after consuming the meal and they were rushed to the district hospital.

An NGO called Jan Kalyan Sanstha Committee based in Hapur (about 90 kilometres away from Muzaffarnagar) was reported to be the caterer of MDMs in the school. The organisation cooks its food in its Hapur location and transports the prepared meals to Muzaffarnagar.

The mishap was reported by the student who was in charge of serving meals for the day. It was just as the student was serving dal to the tenth student after having served it to the nine poisoned students, that he noticed that what he originally thought was khichdi in the dal was, in fact, a dad rat. He informed the school authorities immediately who stopped serving the contaminated food.

NDTV also reported that all of the children as well as the teacher have been discharged from the hospital after primary care. The media also reported that the District Magistrate (DM) of the area has ordered the police to file an FIR against the agency responsible for providing the mid-day meal to Janta Inter College. In addition, concerned officials have been rushed to the school to collect samples of the food and make inquiries regarding the incident.

Uttar Pradesh has witnessed multiple mid-day Meal scheme-related controversies this year. This incident comes less than a week after a video went viral showcasing how one litre of milk was diluted with a bucket of water so that the mixture could be used to feed 81 children as part of their mid-day meal in Sonbhadra, UP. In August, a government primary school in UP's Mirzapur was found serving salt-roti to children in the name of mid-day meals. A week prior to this, the same kids were given salt-rice for their mid-day lunch. 

On November 26, the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha that the most number of MDM-related complaints was reported from Uttar Pradesh (14 out of a total 52). Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount of funds to run the MDM program in its school, at about Rs. 11.2 billion.


Related:

All is not well for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
Sonbhadra: 1L of milk given to 81 students as part of their mid-day meal!
Citizens in Support of Journalist Pawan Jaiswal
Odisha Government ensures the inclusion of eggs in Mid Day Meal
Akshaya Patra imposing vegetarian food mono culture on children
Religious Indoctrination Through Midday Meals

UP: Days after milk adulteration scandal, vermin found in Mid-Day Meal dal

On December 3, a dead rat was found in a mid-day meal (MDM) served to middle school students in UP’s Muzaffarnagar.

mid-day meal

News18 reported that the incident took place in Janta Inter College at Pachenda in the Mustafabad area. The rat was found in the dal cooked for students enrolled in the school between Class 6 and 8.

Nine students and one teacher who was required to taste-test the meal before its distribution complained of their health deteriorating after consuming the meal and they were rushed to the district hospital.

An NGO called Jan Kalyan Sanstha Committee based in Hapur (about 90 kilometres away from Muzaffarnagar) was reported to be the caterer of MDMs in the school. The organisation cooks its food in its Hapur location and transports the prepared meals to Muzaffarnagar.

The mishap was reported by the student who was in charge of serving meals for the day. It was just as the student was serving dal to the tenth student after having served it to the nine poisoned students, that he noticed that what he originally thought was khichdi in the dal was, in fact, a dad rat. He informed the school authorities immediately who stopped serving the contaminated food.

NDTV also reported that all of the children as well as the teacher have been discharged from the hospital after primary care. The media also reported that the District Magistrate (DM) of the area has ordered the police to file an FIR against the agency responsible for providing the mid-day meal to Janta Inter College. In addition, concerned officials have been rushed to the school to collect samples of the food and make inquiries regarding the incident.

Uttar Pradesh has witnessed multiple mid-day Meal scheme-related controversies this year. This incident comes less than a week after a video went viral showcasing how one litre of milk was diluted with a bucket of water so that the mixture could be used to feed 81 children as part of their mid-day meal in Sonbhadra, UP. In August, a government primary school in UP's Mirzapur was found serving salt-roti to children in the name of mid-day meals. A week prior to this, the same kids were given salt-rice for their mid-day lunch. 

On November 26, the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha that the most number of MDM-related complaints was reported from Uttar Pradesh (14 out of a total 52). Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount of funds to run the MDM program in its school, at about Rs. 11.2 billion.


Related:

All is not well for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
Sonbhadra: 1L of milk given to 81 students as part of their mid-day meal!
Citizens in Support of Journalist Pawan Jaiswal
Odisha Government ensures the inclusion of eggs in Mid Day Meal
Akshaya Patra imposing vegetarian food mono culture on children
Religious Indoctrination Through Midday Meals

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Our children’s future

Loving care for our children

03 Dec 2019

children


We give our children loving care, but it makes no sense to do so unless we do everything in our power to give them a future world in which they can survive. We also have a duty to our grandchildren, and to all future generations.

Today we are faced with the threat of an environmental megacatastrophe, of which the danger of catastrophic climate change is a part. We also face the threat of an all-destroying nuclear war.

Finally, because of population growth, the effect of climate change on agriculture, and the end of the fossil fuel era, there is a danger that by the middle of the present century a very large-scale famine could take the lives of as many as a billion people.

We owe it to our children to take urgent action to prevent these threats from becoming future realities. We must also act with dedication to save our children from other social ills that currently prevent their lives from developing in a happy and optimal way, for example child labor, child slavery, starvation, preventable disease and lack of education. These, too, are threats to our children's future.

 

The climate emergency: Urgent action is needed

The annual Emissions Gap report from the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP), released on November 26, 2019,  warned that nations' commitments under the Paris climate accord – from which U.S. President Donald Trump began formally withdrawing this month - are not nearly sufficient to bring about the widespread changes needed to avert climate catastrophe.

The report stated that global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.2$^o$C by the end of the century, meaning only drastic and unprecedented emissions reductions can stave off the most devastating consequences of the climate crisis. What is needed, according to the report, is a complete halt in the production of fossil fuels.

Renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, so the transition to renewables could be driven by economic forces alone, if governments worldwide would stop their sponsorship of fossil fuel industries, to which they currently give enormous tax benefits and other subsidies.

Other urgently needed actions are a halt to deforestation, combined with massive reforestation, substitution of other building materials for cement, better climate coverage in the mass media, abandonment of growth-oriented economic goals, shift to more plant-based diet, and deep cuts in military activities.


We must rid the world of nuclear weapons

A Treaty banning nuclear weapons was adopted by an overwhelming majority vote on the floor of the UN General Assembly, following the precedent set by the Arms Trade Treaty. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed on 7 July, 2017. It prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) campaigned vigorously for the adoption of the Treaty, and was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts. Although bitterly opposed by nuclear weapons states, the Treaty has great normative value, and one fervently hopes that the force of public opinion will eventually force all governments to give their citizens what the vast majority long for: a nuclear-weapon-free world.

It is generally agreed that a full-scale nuclear war would have disastrous effects, not only on belligerent nations but also on neutral countries. As long as there are nations that possess nuclear weapons, there is a danger that they will be used, either deliberately or through a technical or human error, or through unconcontrollable escalation of a conflict. Only a nuclear-free world will be safe for our children and the biosphere.


We must address the threat of widespread famine

As glaciers melt in the Himalayas, depriving India and China of summer water supplies; as sea levels rise, drowning the fertile rice fields of Viet Nam and Bangladesh; as drought threatens the productivity of grain-producing regions of North America; and as the end of the fossil fuel era impacts modern high-yield agriculture, there is a threat of wide-spread famine. There is a danger that the 1.5 billion people who are undernourished today will not survive an even more food-scarce future.

People threatened with famine will become refugees, desperately seeking entry into countries where food shortages are less acute. Wars, such as those currently waged in the Middle East, will add to the problem.

What can we do to avoid this crisis, or at least to reduce its severity? We must urgently address the problem of climate change; and we must shift money from military expenditure to the support of birth control programs and agricultural research. We must also replace the institution of war by a system of effective global governance and enforcible international laws.


We must eliminate child labor and child slavery

Worldwide 10 million children are in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labor, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities, according to the International Labor Organization, (ILO). 151.6 million are estimated to be in child labor (ILO). 114 million child laborers are below the age of 14 (ILO). 72 million children are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development (ILO). More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into union before age 15 (UNICEF). 300,000 children are estimated to serve as child soldiers, some even younger than 10 years old (UNICEF). 15.5 million children are in domestic work worldwide - the overwhelming majority of them are girls (ILO).

Child labor is undesirable because it prevents children from receiving an education. Furthermore, when parents regard their children as a source of labor or income, it motivates the to have very large families, and our finite earth, unlimited growth of population is a logical impossibility. Population growth increases the threat of large-scale famine as well as ecological catastrophe.

Child slavery is unacceptable, as is any form of slavery. Forced marriage, and very early marriage of girls as young as 9 in some countries are also unacceptable practices. The international community has a duty to see that existing laws against these practices are enforced.


We must reduce starvation and preventable disease

According to a recent report published by the World Health Organization, in 2018 alone, 15,000 children died per day before reaching their fifth birthday. A WHO spokesman said, “It is especially unacceptable that these children and young adolescents died largely of preventable or treatable causes like infectious diseases and injuries when we have the means to prevent these deaths,” the authors write in the introduction to the report. The global under-five mortality rate fell to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018, down from 76 in 2000 - a 49% decline.

“Despite advances in fighting childhood illnesses, infectious diseases remain a leading cause of death for children under the age of 5, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia,” says the report. Pneumonia remains the leading cause of death globally among children under the age of 5, accounting for 15% of deaths. Diarrhoea (8%) and malaria (5%), together with pneumonia, accounted for almost a third of global under-five deaths in 2018. ``Malnourished children, particularly those with severe acute malnutrition, have a higher risk of death from these common childhood illnesses. Nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45 per cent of deaths in children under 5 years of age," warns the report. The estimates also show vast inequalities worldwide, with women and children in sub-Saharan Africa facing a higher risk of death than in all other regions. Level of maternal deaths are nearly 50 times higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa compared to high-income countries. In 2018, 1 in 13 children in sub-Saharan Africa died before their fifth birthday - this is 15 times higher than the risk a child faces in Europe, where just 1 in 196 children aged less than 5 die.


We must provide universal reformed education

Illiteracy in the less developed countries exceeded that of the developed ones by a factor of ten in 1970. By 2000, this factor had increased to approximately 20. As our economies become more knowledge-based, education has become more and more important.

Besides universal education, educational reforms are urgently needed, particularly in the teaching of history. As it is taught today, history is a chronicle of power struggles and war, told from a biased national standpoint. Our own race or religion is superior; our own country is always heroic and in the right.

We urgently need to replace this indoctrination in chauvinism by a reformed view of history, where the slow development of human culture is described, giving adequate credit to all who have contributed.

The teaching of other topics, such as economics, should be reformed. Economics must be given both a social conscience and an ecological conscience. The mantra of growth must be abandoned, and the climate emergency must be addressed.


Childhood should be a time of joy

Children's play is not a waste of time. Children at play are learning skills that they will use later in their lives. Let us allow our children to play and learn, while we work to give them a secure future world. Let us give our children, not predominantly material goods, but rather the love, happiness and future that they deserve.


A new freely downloadable book

I would like to announce the publication of a book, which examines the steps that we must take to give our children and their children a world in which thet can survive. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:

http://eacpe.org/app/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Our-Childrens-Future-by-John-Scales-Avery.pdf

Other books and articles about  global problems are on these links

http://eacpe.org/about-john-scales-avery/

https://wsimag.com/authors/716-john-scales-avery

 

Our children’s future

Loving care for our children

children


We give our children loving care, but it makes no sense to do so unless we do everything in our power to give them a future world in which they can survive. We also have a duty to our grandchildren, and to all future generations.

Today we are faced with the threat of an environmental megacatastrophe, of which the danger of catastrophic climate change is a part. We also face the threat of an all-destroying nuclear war.

Finally, because of population growth, the effect of climate change on agriculture, and the end of the fossil fuel era, there is a danger that by the middle of the present century a very large-scale famine could take the lives of as many as a billion people.

We owe it to our children to take urgent action to prevent these threats from becoming future realities. We must also act with dedication to save our children from other social ills that currently prevent their lives from developing in a happy and optimal way, for example child labor, child slavery, starvation, preventable disease and lack of education. These, too, are threats to our children's future.

 

The climate emergency: Urgent action is needed

The annual Emissions Gap report from the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP), released on November 26, 2019,  warned that nations' commitments under the Paris climate accord – from which U.S. President Donald Trump began formally withdrawing this month - are not nearly sufficient to bring about the widespread changes needed to avert climate catastrophe.

The report stated that global temperatures are on track to rise as much as 3.2$^o$C by the end of the century, meaning only drastic and unprecedented emissions reductions can stave off the most devastating consequences of the climate crisis. What is needed, according to the report, is a complete halt in the production of fossil fuels.

Renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, so the transition to renewables could be driven by economic forces alone, if governments worldwide would stop their sponsorship of fossil fuel industries, to which they currently give enormous tax benefits and other subsidies.

Other urgently needed actions are a halt to deforestation, combined with massive reforestation, substitution of other building materials for cement, better climate coverage in the mass media, abandonment of growth-oriented economic goals, shift to more plant-based diet, and deep cuts in military activities.


We must rid the world of nuclear weapons

A Treaty banning nuclear weapons was adopted by an overwhelming majority vote on the floor of the UN General Assembly, following the precedent set by the Arms Trade Treaty. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was passed on 7 July, 2017. It prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities. For nuclear armed states joining the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for negotiations leading to the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) campaigned vigorously for the adoption of the Treaty, and was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts. Although bitterly opposed by nuclear weapons states, the Treaty has great normative value, and one fervently hopes that the force of public opinion will eventually force all governments to give their citizens what the vast majority long for: a nuclear-weapon-free world.

It is generally agreed that a full-scale nuclear war would have disastrous effects, not only on belligerent nations but also on neutral countries. As long as there are nations that possess nuclear weapons, there is a danger that they will be used, either deliberately or through a technical or human error, or through unconcontrollable escalation of a conflict. Only a nuclear-free world will be safe for our children and the biosphere.


We must address the threat of widespread famine

As glaciers melt in the Himalayas, depriving India and China of summer water supplies; as sea levels rise, drowning the fertile rice fields of Viet Nam and Bangladesh; as drought threatens the productivity of grain-producing regions of North America; and as the end of the fossil fuel era impacts modern high-yield agriculture, there is a threat of wide-spread famine. There is a danger that the 1.5 billion people who are undernourished today will not survive an even more food-scarce future.

People threatened with famine will become refugees, desperately seeking entry into countries where food shortages are less acute. Wars, such as those currently waged in the Middle East, will add to the problem.

What can we do to avoid this crisis, or at least to reduce its severity? We must urgently address the problem of climate change; and we must shift money from military expenditure to the support of birth control programs and agricultural research. We must also replace the institution of war by a system of effective global governance and enforcible international laws.


We must eliminate child labor and child slavery

Worldwide 10 million children are in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labor, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities, according to the International Labor Organization, (ILO). 151.6 million are estimated to be in child labor (ILO). 114 million child laborers are below the age of 14 (ILO). 72 million children are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety and moral development (ILO). More than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into union before age 15 (UNICEF). 300,000 children are estimated to serve as child soldiers, some even younger than 10 years old (UNICEF). 15.5 million children are in domestic work worldwide - the overwhelming majority of them are girls (ILO).

Child labor is undesirable because it prevents children from receiving an education. Furthermore, when parents regard their children as a source of labor or income, it motivates the to have very large families, and our finite earth, unlimited growth of population is a logical impossibility. Population growth increases the threat of large-scale famine as well as ecological catastrophe.

Child slavery is unacceptable, as is any form of slavery. Forced marriage, and very early marriage of girls as young as 9 in some countries are also unacceptable practices. The international community has a duty to see that existing laws against these practices are enforced.


We must reduce starvation and preventable disease

According to a recent report published by the World Health Organization, in 2018 alone, 15,000 children died per day before reaching their fifth birthday. A WHO spokesman said, “It is especially unacceptable that these children and young adolescents died largely of preventable or treatable causes like infectious diseases and injuries when we have the means to prevent these deaths,” the authors write in the introduction to the report. The global under-five mortality rate fell to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018, down from 76 in 2000 - a 49% decline.

“Despite advances in fighting childhood illnesses, infectious diseases remain a leading cause of death for children under the age of 5, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia,” says the report. Pneumonia remains the leading cause of death globally among children under the age of 5, accounting for 15% of deaths. Diarrhoea (8%) and malaria (5%), together with pneumonia, accounted for almost a third of global under-five deaths in 2018. ``Malnourished children, particularly those with severe acute malnutrition, have a higher risk of death from these common childhood illnesses. Nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45 per cent of deaths in children under 5 years of age," warns the report. The estimates also show vast inequalities worldwide, with women and children in sub-Saharan Africa facing a higher risk of death than in all other regions. Level of maternal deaths are nearly 50 times higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa compared to high-income countries. In 2018, 1 in 13 children in sub-Saharan Africa died before their fifth birthday - this is 15 times higher than the risk a child faces in Europe, where just 1 in 196 children aged less than 5 die.


We must provide universal reformed education

Illiteracy in the less developed countries exceeded that of the developed ones by a factor of ten in 1970. By 2000, this factor had increased to approximately 20. As our economies become more knowledge-based, education has become more and more important.

Besides universal education, educational reforms are urgently needed, particularly in the teaching of history. As it is taught today, history is a chronicle of power struggles and war, told from a biased national standpoint. Our own race or religion is superior; our own country is always heroic and in the right.

We urgently need to replace this indoctrination in chauvinism by a reformed view of history, where the slow development of human culture is described, giving adequate credit to all who have contributed.

The teaching of other topics, such as economics, should be reformed. Economics must be given both a social conscience and an ecological conscience. The mantra of growth must be abandoned, and the climate emergency must be addressed.


Childhood should be a time of joy

Children's play is not a waste of time. Children at play are learning skills that they will use later in their lives. Let us allow our children to play and learn, while we work to give them a secure future world. Let us give our children, not predominantly material goods, but rather the love, happiness and future that they deserve.


A new freely downloadable book

I would like to announce the publication of a book, which examines the steps that we must take to give our children and their children a world in which thet can survive. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:

http://eacpe.org/app/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Our-Childrens-Future-by-John-Scales-Avery.pdf

Other books and articles about  global problems are on these links

http://eacpe.org/about-john-scales-avery/

https://wsimag.com/authors/716-john-scales-avery

 

Related Articles


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Parents ‘foreigner’, 31 children deprived of education languish in Assam’s detention camps

The Assam Legislative Assembly has been informed that there are total 31 children in detention camps, figures valid till November 20, 2019.

03 Dec 2019
detention camp
Piyasree Dasgupta/Huffpost India


When parents are declared foreigners and sent to detention camps, their children are also detained within. So, other children are busy with play and learning, these 31 children are incarcerated and confined within detention camp. Such inhuman conditions are observed in detention camps of Assam.

A report published in Bengali magazine published from Assam, TDN Bangla, recounts the story of Kalpana Biswas:  a child from Marikata gaon, in Morigaon district, her father’s name is Dilip Biswas and mother’s name is Rumani Biswas. Both children were in detention camps with their  parents. Kalpana was 9 years old on that time and her father was sent to another detention camp. But Kalpana Biswas and her younger sister Archana Biswas remained in detention camps with their mother.

Kalpana Biswas was released after eight long years when she was 17 years old. But her education has been ruined through this ordeal. While the friends of her childhood have appeared in the board HSLC examinations, she has pain, trauma and a wasted childhood behind her.

 

Related Articles

Children of Deceased DF couple struggle to prove Citizenship in Assam

Assam man forced to prove Indian citizenship four times

Assam’s former Dy Speaker’s kin declared ‘Foreigner’

Gauhati HC Upholds NRC Coordinator’s order on siblings and family members of Declared Foreigners

Assam man’s wife declared ‘foreigner’, missing for 7 years!

Parents ‘foreigner’, 31 children deprived of education languish in Assam’s detention camps

The Assam Legislative Assembly has been informed that there are total 31 children in detention camps, figures valid till November 20, 2019.

detention camp
Piyasree Dasgupta/Huffpost India


When parents are declared foreigners and sent to detention camps, their children are also detained within. So, other children are busy with play and learning, these 31 children are incarcerated and confined within detention camp. Such inhuman conditions are observed in detention camps of Assam.

A report published in Bengali magazine published from Assam, TDN Bangla, recounts the story of Kalpana Biswas:  a child from Marikata gaon, in Morigaon district, her father’s name is Dilip Biswas and mother’s name is Rumani Biswas. Both children were in detention camps with their  parents. Kalpana was 9 years old on that time and her father was sent to another detention camp. But Kalpana Biswas and her younger sister Archana Biswas remained in detention camps with their mother.

Kalpana Biswas was released after eight long years when she was 17 years old. But her education has been ruined through this ordeal. While the friends of her childhood have appeared in the board HSLC examinations, she has pain, trauma and a wasted childhood behind her.

 

Related Articles

Children of Deceased DF couple struggle to prove Citizenship in Assam

Assam man forced to prove Indian citizenship four times

Assam’s former Dy Speaker’s kin declared ‘Foreigner’

Gauhati HC Upholds NRC Coordinator’s order on siblings and family members of Declared Foreigners

Assam man’s wife declared ‘foreigner’, missing for 7 years!

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35 year-old attempts to rape 4 year-old, paraded naked: Nagpur

He used to visit her home daily for his work as a cash collection agent

02 Dec 2019

Naked
Image Courtesy: india.com


A 35-year-old man was paraded naked on Sunday evening by people for trying to rape a four-year-old girl at her house in Pardi area of Nagpur in Maharashtra, the Asian Age reported.

The police said that the accused, Jawahar Vaidya, a daily cash collection agent for a co-operative society bank, was thrashed, had his hands tied by a rope and paraded naked on the streets before being handed over to them.

An official told Asian Age, "Vaidya visits the house of the girl every day for collecting cash. Finding the girl alone on Sunday evening, he tried to sexually assault her. Suddenly, mother of the girl returned home and raised an alarm, following which her neighbours rushed to the spot.”

The neighbours, who gathered as the word spread, thrashed Vaidya for his actions. The police has registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act at the Pardi police station.

The incident has enraged people all over the country, especially when the nation is already seething with anger after the brutal rape and murder of the 26-year-old Hyderabad veterinarian doctor which came to light on Thursday.

According to the data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2016, the total cases reported under the POCSO act were 36,022, with UP recording 4,954; Maharashtra recording 4,815 and Madhya Pradesh – 4,717. The total percentage of child rape cases stood at 34.4%, i.e. 19765 cases. The conviction rate in these cases stood at 28.2% with 2,230 men convicted.

2452 cases had been reported in Metropolitan cities, out of which 1,258 were pending investigation and 158 cases saw a conviction by the end of 2016.

This year itself, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to strengthen the POCSO Act by including the death penalty for aggravated cases of sexual assaults on children, the Economic Times reported.

The spate of increased incidents in sexual crimes against children and other heinous crimes against women have now driven the public to favour vigilante justice. With fast-track courts not doing their job and cases dragging on for years without credible justice in sight, what is the way to go to stop this evil from spreading even further?


Related:

Reject culture of misogyny, democratise socio-cultural spaces: #Justice4RapeVictims
A Look into the Kerala Double POCSO-Suicide Case
Death Penalty In POCSO Act Imperils Child Victims Of Sexual Offences
In R City Mall, Kidzania attendant molests two girls during their school trip: Mumbai
Tamil Nadu: 13-year-old girl beheaded for refusing sexual advances
Why India’s Children Must Wait Till 2022 To Get Justice Under Law Meant To Protect Them

35 year-old attempts to rape 4 year-old, paraded naked: Nagpur

He used to visit her home daily for his work as a cash collection agent

Naked
Image Courtesy: india.com


A 35-year-old man was paraded naked on Sunday evening by people for trying to rape a four-year-old girl at her house in Pardi area of Nagpur in Maharashtra, the Asian Age reported.

The police said that the accused, Jawahar Vaidya, a daily cash collection agent for a co-operative society bank, was thrashed, had his hands tied by a rope and paraded naked on the streets before being handed over to them.

An official told Asian Age, "Vaidya visits the house of the girl every day for collecting cash. Finding the girl alone on Sunday evening, he tried to sexually assault her. Suddenly, mother of the girl returned home and raised an alarm, following which her neighbours rushed to the spot.”

The neighbours, who gathered as the word spread, thrashed Vaidya for his actions. The police has registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act at the Pardi police station.

The incident has enraged people all over the country, especially when the nation is already seething with anger after the brutal rape and murder of the 26-year-old Hyderabad veterinarian doctor which came to light on Thursday.

According to the data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2016, the total cases reported under the POCSO act were 36,022, with UP recording 4,954; Maharashtra recording 4,815 and Madhya Pradesh – 4,717. The total percentage of child rape cases stood at 34.4%, i.e. 19765 cases. The conviction rate in these cases stood at 28.2% with 2,230 men convicted.

2452 cases had been reported in Metropolitan cities, out of which 1,258 were pending investigation and 158 cases saw a conviction by the end of 2016.

This year itself, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to strengthen the POCSO Act by including the death penalty for aggravated cases of sexual assaults on children, the Economic Times reported.

The spate of increased incidents in sexual crimes against children and other heinous crimes against women have now driven the public to favour vigilante justice. With fast-track courts not doing their job and cases dragging on for years without credible justice in sight, what is the way to go to stop this evil from spreading even further?


Related:

Reject culture of misogyny, democratise socio-cultural spaces: #Justice4RapeVictims
A Look into the Kerala Double POCSO-Suicide Case
Death Penalty In POCSO Act Imperils Child Victims Of Sexual Offences
In R City Mall, Kidzania attendant molests two girls during their school trip: Mumbai
Tamil Nadu: 13-year-old girl beheaded for refusing sexual advances
Why India’s Children Must Wait Till 2022 To Get Justice Under Law Meant To Protect Them

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Sonbhadra: 1L of milk given to 81 students as part of their mid-day meal!

A primary school was allegedly caught giving adulterated milk to its students as part of their mid-day meal in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh. A video demonstrating the cook adding one litre of milk to a bucket of water went viral on social media this Tuesday, on November 26.

29 Nov 2019
Image
Image Courtesy: NDTV


The incident where the video was shot took place at Salai Banwa Primary School in the Salaibanwa area of Kota village in Sonbhadra. According to the mid-day meal (MDM) menu prescribed by the Uttar Pradesh government, the school children are supposed to be served tehri (rice) with milk.

The school’s head Shailesh Kanaujia washed his hands of the incident. In a statement, he said, “There are 171 children enrolled in the school,” he said. “Eighty-one children were present on that day. I have the responsibility to look after two schools. Milk had to be arranged for both schools and I could not monitor the quantity of milk that reached government primary school in Salai Banwa. The cook was provided the milk, which was distributed among the children and they drank it.”

The area’s Block Education Officer Mukesh Rai said that he received information from locals that water was added to the milk and served to the children. He said a probe had been ordered into the incident and strict action will be taken so that such instances are never repeated in future.

The Basic Shiksha Adhikari Gorakhnath Patel reportedly said, “Such laxity will not be tolerated. A probe has been ordered into the matter. A team of Education Department officials will conduct a probe and submit a report within two days. Strict action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty in the probe.”

India Today reported that since the video showing milk adulteration went viral, an FIR has been lodged against the Shiksha Mitra Jitendra while a teacher of the school has been suspended.

This incident comes months after a government primary school in UP's Mirzapur was found serving salt-roti and salt-rice to children in the name of mid-day meals. The locals had alleged that they were told milk would be distributed to the school, but it was never served to the children.

In September 2019, at least 28 workers from three districts (Rae Bareli, Kannauj and Pratapgarh) in Uttar Pradesh were booked for selling MDM food for cash. Raids led to the recovery of large quantities of food grain meant for the scheme in the warehouse of a private trader in Rae Bareli. About 155 bags of children's meals (about 9,300 kilos) were found at an animal fodder godown in the Salon block of Rae Bareli. Initial investigation revealed that the nutritional meals were to be distributed in anganwadis of Pratapgarh's Rampur Khaas and other areas. But instead, it was kept in godowns and illegally sold to people.

The HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha last week that the most number of complaints about MDM was reported from Uttar Pradesh at 14 of 52. In the funds released by the Centre for MDM Scheme, Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount, at about Rs. 11.2 billion.

 

Related:

All is not well for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
Assam Midday Meal workers protest outside education minister’s residence
Akshaya Patra imposing vegetarian food mono culture on children

 

Sonbhadra: 1L of milk given to 81 students as part of their mid-day meal!

A primary school was allegedly caught giving adulterated milk to its students as part of their mid-day meal in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh. A video demonstrating the cook adding one litre of milk to a bucket of water went viral on social media this Tuesday, on November 26.

Image
Image Courtesy: NDTV


The incident where the video was shot took place at Salai Banwa Primary School in the Salaibanwa area of Kota village in Sonbhadra. According to the mid-day meal (MDM) menu prescribed by the Uttar Pradesh government, the school children are supposed to be served tehri (rice) with milk.

The school’s head Shailesh Kanaujia washed his hands of the incident. In a statement, he said, “There are 171 children enrolled in the school,” he said. “Eighty-one children were present on that day. I have the responsibility to look after two schools. Milk had to be arranged for both schools and I could not monitor the quantity of milk that reached government primary school in Salai Banwa. The cook was provided the milk, which was distributed among the children and they drank it.”

The area’s Block Education Officer Mukesh Rai said that he received information from locals that water was added to the milk and served to the children. He said a probe had been ordered into the incident and strict action will be taken so that such instances are never repeated in future.

The Basic Shiksha Adhikari Gorakhnath Patel reportedly said, “Such laxity will not be tolerated. A probe has been ordered into the matter. A team of Education Department officials will conduct a probe and submit a report within two days. Strict action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty in the probe.”

India Today reported that since the video showing milk adulteration went viral, an FIR has been lodged against the Shiksha Mitra Jitendra while a teacher of the school has been suspended.

This incident comes months after a government primary school in UP's Mirzapur was found serving salt-roti and salt-rice to children in the name of mid-day meals. The locals had alleged that they were told milk would be distributed to the school, but it was never served to the children.

In September 2019, at least 28 workers from three districts (Rae Bareli, Kannauj and Pratapgarh) in Uttar Pradesh were booked for selling MDM food for cash. Raids led to the recovery of large quantities of food grain meant for the scheme in the warehouse of a private trader in Rae Bareli. About 155 bags of children's meals (about 9,300 kilos) were found at an animal fodder godown in the Salon block of Rae Bareli. Initial investigation revealed that the nutritional meals were to be distributed in anganwadis of Pratapgarh's Rampur Khaas and other areas. But instead, it was kept in godowns and illegally sold to people.

The HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha last week that the most number of complaints about MDM was reported from Uttar Pradesh at 14 of 52. In the funds released by the Centre for MDM Scheme, Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount, at about Rs. 11.2 billion.

 

Related:

All is not well for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
Assam Midday Meal workers protest outside education minister’s residence
Akshaya Patra imposing vegetarian food mono culture on children

 

Related Articles


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WCD Ministry gives unsatisfactory answers on efforts to protect women and children

In response to an unstarred question made during the Lok Sabha session by four Members of Parliament, Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) Smriti Irani appeared to only relay old, publicly available data on the issues.

29 Nov 2019

smriti irani

During the Lok Sabha session on November 22, 2019, four Members of Parliament – Manne Srinivas Reddy, Nusrat Jahan Ruhi, Dean Kuriakose, Gurjeet Singh Aujla – asked the Ministry of Women, Child and Development questions on three issues. Here is a breakdown of their queries and the Ministry’s response.
 

  1. Has crime committed against women and juvenile/children increased within the last ten years in Delhi and Mumbai?

As to this first query, Irani quotes National Crime Records Bureau data to state that the crime committed against women and children are on decrease, but the crime rate has increased in Mumbai “within the last two years.” This NCRB data, however, is based on information from two years ago as the latest data available is from 2017.
 

  1. What number of victims received legal help and protection through the Ministry of Women and Child Development during the trial?

With respect to the second query, Irani provides information on the Sakhi programme formulated under the Umbrella of National Mission for Empowerment of Women. 2.27 lakh women have benefitted from One Stop Centre Scheme and 38.62 lakh women have benefited from its Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme, Irani states.

While this is the only information in the answer that was previously unpublished, it glazes over important details of how the scheme has actually been faring.

Only a total of 377 alleged domestic violence cases have been registered since December, 2017 till now at the OSC. Out of these, 107 cases are still pending. Multiple personal accounts of women in Haryana speak about the lack of funds, amenities and services to alleged police interference in OSCs.

Additionally, Irani provides details on Child Care Institutions (CCIs) made for “Children in need of care and protection” (CNCP) of the country, along with number of Children residing in them in an attached Annexure. While the institution of state homes for children is a step in the right direction, this glosses over cases of child rights violations witnessed in such childcare homes.

A research study titled, “Beyond 18: Leaving Child Care Institutions - A Study of Aftercare Practices in Five States of India,” released in August 2019, reported that 44% childcare leavers or CLs were never consulted in their care and rehabilitation planning, nearly 21% of all CLs across states had not received the education they had wanted to in their childcare institutes, while 35% had faced difficulty in continuing their education when they had transitioned out of childcare institutes. An overwhelming 52% of children said they lead unsatisfactory lives in CCIs.

Dissatisfaction in life is the often the lesser evil for these children. According to the Jena Committee Report of September 2018 (published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development itself) 1575 children had fallen victim to cases of sexual abuse while staying in CCIs. 189 children were also reported to be victims of child pornography in the Report. A case of alleged molestation by an employee of a girls’ home was reported on the day of this publication itself.

Keeping the increased sense of their responsibility in mind, Punjab now requires children NGOs to register themselves under the JJA so as to continue functioning (91% of CCIs are run by non-governmental organisations).
 

  1. Does the Government have any plans for protection of women and juvenile criminals and provision of financial assistance that can enable their engagement in gainful employment?

For the third question, Irani makes a reference to CCIs again. With respect to Children in Conflict with Law Children housed in CCIs are supposed to be provided various rehabilitation and reintegration services (including skill development, vocational training, recreational facilities, mental health interventions) under the JJA.

However, as Udayan Care research study noted, the Child Protection System constructed under the JJA is not prepared to assist children that depend on it in reintegrating back into society, and the poor state of ICPs as well as rehabilitation planning emerges as a common deficit across states.

The Minister has not responded to query regarding protection of women criminals or the provision of financial support to woman and child prisoners. The lack of answers in the latter issue is particularly disheartening since most undertrial prisoners in India are so poor that they can't even afford to pay the money required to secure bail.

The Ministry’s response can be read here: INSERT RESPONSE

 

Related:

WCD Ministry gives unsatisfactory answers on efforts to protect women and children

In response to an unstarred question made during the Lok Sabha session by four Members of Parliament, Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) Smriti Irani appeared to only relay old, publicly available data on the issues.

smriti irani

During the Lok Sabha session on November 22, 2019, four Members of Parliament – Manne Srinivas Reddy, Nusrat Jahan Ruhi, Dean Kuriakose, Gurjeet Singh Aujla – asked the Ministry of Women, Child and Development questions on three issues. Here is a breakdown of their queries and the Ministry’s response.
 

  1. Has crime committed against women and juvenile/children increased within the last ten years in Delhi and Mumbai?

As to this first query, Irani quotes National Crime Records Bureau data to state that the crime committed against women and children are on decrease, but the crime rate has increased in Mumbai “within the last two years.” This NCRB data, however, is based on information from two years ago as the latest data available is from 2017.
 

  1. What number of victims received legal help and protection through the Ministry of Women and Child Development during the trial?

With respect to the second query, Irani provides information on the Sakhi programme formulated under the Umbrella of National Mission for Empowerment of Women. 2.27 lakh women have benefitted from One Stop Centre Scheme and 38.62 lakh women have benefited from its Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme, Irani states.

While this is the only information in the answer that was previously unpublished, it glazes over important details of how the scheme has actually been faring.

Only a total of 377 alleged domestic violence cases have been registered since December, 2017 till now at the OSC. Out of these, 107 cases are still pending. Multiple personal accounts of women in Haryana speak about the lack of funds, amenities and services to alleged police interference in OSCs.

Additionally, Irani provides details on Child Care Institutions (CCIs) made for “Children in need of care and protection” (CNCP) of the country, along with number of Children residing in them in an attached Annexure. While the institution of state homes for children is a step in the right direction, this glosses over cases of child rights violations witnessed in such childcare homes.

A research study titled, “Beyond 18: Leaving Child Care Institutions - A Study of Aftercare Practices in Five States of India,” released in August 2019, reported that 44% childcare leavers or CLs were never consulted in their care and rehabilitation planning, nearly 21% of all CLs across states had not received the education they had wanted to in their childcare institutes, while 35% had faced difficulty in continuing their education when they had transitioned out of childcare institutes. An overwhelming 52% of children said they lead unsatisfactory lives in CCIs.

Dissatisfaction in life is the often the lesser evil for these children. According to the Jena Committee Report of September 2018 (published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development itself) 1575 children had fallen victim to cases of sexual abuse while staying in CCIs. 189 children were also reported to be victims of child pornography in the Report. A case of alleged molestation by an employee of a girls’ home was reported on the day of this publication itself.

Keeping the increased sense of their responsibility in mind, Punjab now requires children NGOs to register themselves under the JJA so as to continue functioning (91% of CCIs are run by non-governmental organisations).
 

  1. Does the Government have any plans for protection of women and juvenile criminals and provision of financial assistance that can enable their engagement in gainful employment?

For the third question, Irani makes a reference to CCIs again. With respect to Children in Conflict with Law Children housed in CCIs are supposed to be provided various rehabilitation and reintegration services (including skill development, vocational training, recreational facilities, mental health interventions) under the JJA.

However, as Udayan Care research study noted, the Child Protection System constructed under the JJA is not prepared to assist children that depend on it in reintegrating back into society, and the poor state of ICPs as well as rehabilitation planning emerges as a common deficit across states.

The Minister has not responded to query regarding protection of women criminals or the provision of financial support to woman and child prisoners. The lack of answers in the latter issue is particularly disheartening since most undertrial prisoners in India are so poor that they can't even afford to pay the money required to secure bail.

The Ministry’s response can be read here: INSERT RESPONSE

 

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Sabrang

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change

29 Nov 2019

Rain
Suburban rains, Chennai
 

Text of the note prepared by Compassion UK, “Child Poverty: the Facts and the Future”, which is an in-depth guide to child poverty and how can one tackle the challenges:

Child. Poverty. Two words that should never be put together. Yet tragically this is the reality for an estimated 385 million children, accounting for more than half of the world’s extreme poor.

It can feel like an insurmountable problem – but we are making progress and there is plenty of cause for hope and further action. Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty has halved. That’s 1 billion fewer people living in poverty today.

Yet, while the numbers of people trapped in extreme poverty are declining, the rate of release is slowing, so that in many parts of the world we are not currently on track to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, the first Sustainable Development Goal. With nearly 600 million people still deeply entrenched in poverty – over half of them children – we still have a long way to go.

Let’s take a closer look at the specific issues and what we can do to continue to effect change and bring an end to child poverty in our world.

Why focus on child poverty, not just poverty as a whole?

It’s down to a tragic yet undeniable formula: children in poverty grow into adults in poverty – and the cycle of poverty is then perpetuated.

But release a child from poverty – and you free a future adult (and potentially an entire family) from poverty.

In a world in which one in three children are identified as multi-dimensionally poor (compared with one in six adults), consider the impact that each of the following indicators has on a child …

Child poverty issue 1: Food and nutrition

Hunger and malnutrition are not the same thing.

Too many children in our world today are starving. But starvation is not the only food-related enemy. A child can have a full stomach, yet still suffer from a dangerous deprivation of the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.

Malnutrition is responsible for half of all deaths in children under 5 years of age, claiming the lives of over 3 million children every year and those who do survive are affected for life … unless intervention comes in time.

  • Malnutrition kicks off a chain reaction.
  • Poor nutrition drastically weakens a child’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to sickness.
  • Chronic and acute sickness hamper cognitive function (the brain’s ability to learn and develop).
  • Poor learning & attendance at school affects a child’s education.
  • Low levels of education affect a child’s subsequent earning power in adulthood.
  • A child who began life in poverty may grow into an adult trapped in poverty with a family of their own … trapped in poverty (back to beginning of cycle).

Stunting

Children who suffer from malnutrition in the first 1,000 days of their life are also highly susceptible to stunting, a condition in which growth and development are impaired. The visible, physical effect is that a child’s height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the WHO Child Growth Standards median, and their strength and mobility is affected. The unseen internal repercussions of stunting are vast and steal a child’s future.

Cause for hope

Nutrition interventions can help minimise the effects of stunting or even stop it in its tracks, restoring potential to a child’s future.

When we provide children with the nutrition and healthcare they need in their first two years of life, we are attacking poverty in its infancy, rather than allowing it to attack infants themselves.

Lance is one child who has suffered greatly due to malnourishment. Thankfully, he’s been given back his future through nutritional and health interventions.

Poverty has stunted Lance’s growth, and at 8 years old he looks like a 4-year-old. He suffered from acute malnourishment and for years he was too weak to lift himself up and walk. Child sponsorship has enabled Lance to receive proper nourishment and healthcare. While still small for his age, Lance is now healthy and strong enough to play with other children.

Child poverty issue 2: Healthcare

The need for proper nutrition, especially in infancy and childhood, is closely linked to the need for access to affordable healthcare. While we strive to eradicate poverty as swiftly as possible, each year about 100 million people are forced into poverty as a result of health-related expenses.

Healthcare workers

  • Issue: Aside from affordability, the availability of healthcare workers is also a problem. Sub-Saharan Africa has a health worker deficit of 1.8 million– a figure which, without immediate and concerted action, will rise to 4.3 million over the next 20 years as the population rises.
  • Way forward:  The maths is clear on this one. The additional cost of providing sub-Saharan Africa with another 1 million community health workers would be an estimated US$3.1 billion per year. The return on that investment, in addition to the lives saved and suffering reduced, would be an estimated US$19.4 billion per yearfrom enhanced productivity.

Prenatal care for babies

  • Issue: A lack of healthcare or nutrition impacts a child’s life from birth (and even beforehand).
  • Way forward: Research estimates that 40% of neonatal deaths could be avertedwith key interventions around the time of birth. These include care by a skilled birth attendant, emergency obstetric care, immediate newborn care and newborn resuscitation. Another 30% could be saved through ‘kangaroo mother’ care with skin-to-skin contact starting from birth and other basic methods of prevention, management and treatment of neonatal issues

Prenatal care for mothers

  • Issue: Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causesrelated to pregnancy and childhood, with 99% of maternal deaths occurring in developing countries
  • Way forward: Providing pregnant women with the healthcare they need simultaneously protects the woman’s health and helps to prevent her child from being orphaned at birth. To protect the mother is to protect the baby.

Defence against preventable diseases

HIV/AIDS testing and treatment

  • Issue: Each year of the last decade, at least 10 million children under the age of 18 lost either one or both parents to AIDS. According to UNAIDS, in 2017 there were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide known to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 1.8 million were children, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
  • Way forward: Progress is being made through providing mothers with medicine. Between 2010 and 2017, the percentage of pregnant women living with HIV who had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies increased by 33% (Source, 2017).

Child poverty issue 3: Education

Education is a huge key to unlocking the futures of children who are being held captive by poverty.

More than 260 million of the world’s children are not in school, while hundreds of millions are attending school yet not receiving any real education. Here are just a handful of the results from the World Data Report 2018 highlighting the importance of making sure every child receives a quality education:

  • Quality childhood education benefits the individual child and society as a whole.
  • The quality of a child’s education directly influences their learning results. No big surprise there, yet hundreds of millions of children today cannot read, write or perform basic maths equations despite attending school.
  • More schooling leads to higher wages. For each year of additional effective schooling, individual adult earnings increase by an average of 10%.
  • Quality education in early childhood impacts the ability to learn, think, process and problem-solve – for life.

Cause for hope

There has been a significant increase in the push to make early childhood and primary education universally accessible. The Global Partnership for Education reports that:

  • 77 million more children were in primary school in 2016 in GPE partner countries compared to 2002.
  • 38% of children were enrolled in pre-primary education in GPE partner countries in 2016 compared to 19% in 2002.
    If current trends continue, between 2017 and 2030, at least 22 million children will miss out on the pre-primary education so critical to their later ability to succeed in school and beyond. Funding and facilitating education as early as possible is of vital importance to stemming the tide of child poverty.

If all children born today in lower-middle income countries could be educated to even a basic level of literacy and numeracy skills, there would be a 13-fold increase in GDP over their lifetimes. When we take care of today’s children by providing nourishment, healthcare and basic education, we systematically empower them to take care of themselves (and their families) as adults.

Child poverty issue 4: Gender 

There’s no way to talk about education and poverty without acknowledging the enormous impact of the gender gap.

A worldwide study of human development levels (quality of life and levels of personal productivity and growth) compared with gender equality levels, confirms an undeniable link between the two. The 10 countries ranking lowest on the Human Development Index – Niger, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali, Liberia and Mozambique – had the highest levels of gender inequality.

For girls, this impacts every area of life:

Girls have far less access to education than boys. Female youths are 1.7 times more likely to be illiterate than male youths.

According to 2018 findings by the World Bank, girls given access to better education grow into women who:

  • are healthier
  • participate more in the formal labour market
  • earn higher incomes
  • have fewer children
  • marry at a later age
  • are less vulnerable to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • are able to provide better health care and education for their own children, should they choose to become mothers.

This combination of factors has enormous potential to lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty and to improve women’s rights. Notably, the better educated a society’s girls are, the more rights and influence they have as women.

Enforced early marriage

Globally, 1 in 5 girls are married before age 18. If child marriage does not decrease, there will be 1.2 billion women who were married as children by 2050.

Child brides face multiple threats including:

  • isolation, limited freedom and disempowerment
  • deprivation of their human rights to health, education and safety
  • sexual abuse and resulting physical, emotional and mental issues
  • dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth
  • increased likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS
  • domestic violence
  • perpetuated poverty due to their lack of access to education and economic opportunity.

Cause for hope

Thankfully, the last decade has seen a 15% decrease in the proportion of women married as children.

Child poverty issue 5: water and sanitation

Water is life. But 663 million people in our world don’t have access to safe drinking water, while 946 million don’t have access to proper sanitation, having no choice but to defecate in the open. A 2017 report shows a staggering level of inequality in access to WASH services around the world, including specific impacts on children.

Effective WASH services hold the key to:

  • Reducing diarrhoea and other enteric diseases.
  • Diarrheal diseases are the second highest contributors to global child mortality, causing about 10% of all deaths in children under five years.
  • Empowering children to attend school.
  • On average, women and children around the world spend 200 million hours every day collecting water.
  • An estimated one in ten girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle.
  • Up to 80% of illnesses in the developing world are caused by poor water and sanitation conditions, leading to children being absent from school – either because the children themselves fall sick, or because they have to stay home and look after a sick family member. In the case of a parent or guardian falling sick, it means loss of work, plunging the family deeper into poverty.
  • Reduce levels of malnutrition and stunting. In Indonesia, only 5% of urban wastewater is safely treated and disposed of, and children living in communities with open defecation during the first 1,000 days of life are 11 percentage points more likely to be stunted.

Cause for hope:

In 2015, 6.6 billion people – 91% of the global population – used an improved drinking water source compared with 82% in 2000.

Yet, despite significant overall increase in the provision of improved WASH facilities over the last two decades, as of 2017 only Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe are close to achieving universal basic water services. That’s a lot of the world still in need of safe water and improved sanitation.

Issue 6: Climate change and disaster relief 

Disasters, many of which are exacerbated by climate change and are increasing in frequency and intensity, impede progress towards sustainable development. On average there is about one major disaster recorded on the global databases every day on earth, and intensity may be increasing, in some cases as a result of climate change.

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, due to:

  • lack of access to both preventative vaccines and medical care following illness or injury.
  • increased chance of contagion through unsafe water and poor sanitation.
  • low levels of immunity to disease due to food instability and insufficient nutrient supply.
  • homes which are already unsafe shelters and therefore are subject to greater impact by natural disasters.

Cause for hope

We do not have to leave the poorest of the poor defenseless against disasters and climate change. We have the strategic planning knowledge to minimise risks from tsunamis, floods and cyclones through the use of disaster preparedness plans, land-use plans and early warning systems.

Preparation in advance of disasters is both a humanitarian and financial necessity. It’s estimated that investment in humanitarian preparedness in high-risk contexts yields an average financial return of 200%! That means every US$1 spent on preparing is worth an average US$2 needed in the event of an emergency.

How can one person make a difference to child poverty?

It’s about one person, empowering one child.

Every child has the right to a childhood – one that will enable them to thrive in the future. They cannot (and should never have to) provide themselves with all that they need – food, healthcare, clothing, shelter, education or psychosocially nurturing environments in which they are known,

loved and protected. It is the role of the world’s ‘grown-ups’ to give every child their own opportunity to ‘grow up’ – to grow into their full human potential.

Child poverty is a holistic problem, requiring a holistic solution

Compassion is a leading Christian child development charity, working with local churches in developing countries to release children from poverty. Our approach is a personal one: we link a child in poverty with a sponsor to empower them to break the cycle of poverty.

Through child sponsorship, we’re impacting children, families, communities and entire nations.

Courtesy: counterview.org

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to effects of climate change

Rain
Suburban rains, Chennai
 

Text of the note prepared by Compassion UK, “Child Poverty: the Facts and the Future”, which is an in-depth guide to child poverty and how can one tackle the challenges:

Child. Poverty. Two words that should never be put together. Yet tragically this is the reality for an estimated 385 million children, accounting for more than half of the world’s extreme poor.

It can feel like an insurmountable problem – but we are making progress and there is plenty of cause for hope and further action. Since 1990, the number of people living in extreme poverty has halved. That’s 1 billion fewer people living in poverty today.

Yet, while the numbers of people trapped in extreme poverty are declining, the rate of release is slowing, so that in many parts of the world we are not currently on track to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, the first Sustainable Development Goal. With nearly 600 million people still deeply entrenched in poverty – over half of them children – we still have a long way to go.

Let’s take a closer look at the specific issues and what we can do to continue to effect change and bring an end to child poverty in our world.

Why focus on child poverty, not just poverty as a whole?

It’s down to a tragic yet undeniable formula: children in poverty grow into adults in poverty – and the cycle of poverty is then perpetuated.

But release a child from poverty – and you free a future adult (and potentially an entire family) from poverty.

In a world in which one in three children are identified as multi-dimensionally poor (compared with one in six adults), consider the impact that each of the following indicators has on a child …

Child poverty issue 1: Food and nutrition

Hunger and malnutrition are not the same thing.

Too many children in our world today are starving. But starvation is not the only food-related enemy. A child can have a full stomach, yet still suffer from a dangerous deprivation of the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.

Malnutrition is responsible for half of all deaths in children under 5 years of age, claiming the lives of over 3 million children every year and those who do survive are affected for life … unless intervention comes in time.

  • Malnutrition kicks off a chain reaction.
  • Poor nutrition drastically weakens a child’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to sickness.
  • Chronic and acute sickness hamper cognitive function (the brain’s ability to learn and develop).
  • Poor learning & attendance at school affects a child’s education.
  • Low levels of education affect a child’s subsequent earning power in adulthood.
  • A child who began life in poverty may grow into an adult trapped in poverty with a family of their own … trapped in poverty (back to beginning of cycle).

Stunting

Children who suffer from malnutrition in the first 1,000 days of their life are also highly susceptible to stunting, a condition in which growth and development are impaired. The visible, physical effect is that a child’s height-for-age is more than two standard deviations below the WHO Child Growth Standards median, and their strength and mobility is affected. The unseen internal repercussions of stunting are vast and steal a child’s future.

Cause for hope

Nutrition interventions can help minimise the effects of stunting or even stop it in its tracks, restoring potential to a child’s future.

When we provide children with the nutrition and healthcare they need in their first two years of life, we are attacking poverty in its infancy, rather than allowing it to attack infants themselves.

Lance is one child who has suffered greatly due to malnourishment. Thankfully, he’s been given back his future through nutritional and health interventions.

Poverty has stunted Lance’s growth, and at 8 years old he looks like a 4-year-old. He suffered from acute malnourishment and for years he was too weak to lift himself up and walk. Child sponsorship has enabled Lance to receive proper nourishment and healthcare. While still small for his age, Lance is now healthy and strong enough to play with other children.

Child poverty issue 2: Healthcare

The need for proper nutrition, especially in infancy and childhood, is closely linked to the need for access to affordable healthcare. While we strive to eradicate poverty as swiftly as possible, each year about 100 million people are forced into poverty as a result of health-related expenses.

Healthcare workers

  • Issue: Aside from affordability, the availability of healthcare workers is also a problem. Sub-Saharan Africa has a health worker deficit of 1.8 million– a figure which, without immediate and concerted action, will rise to 4.3 million over the next 20 years as the population rises.
  • Way forward:  The maths is clear on this one. The additional cost of providing sub-Saharan Africa with another 1 million community health workers would be an estimated US$3.1 billion per year. The return on that investment, in addition to the lives saved and suffering reduced, would be an estimated US$19.4 billion per yearfrom enhanced productivity.

Prenatal care for babies

  • Issue: A lack of healthcare or nutrition impacts a child’s life from birth (and even beforehand).
  • Way forward: Research estimates that 40% of neonatal deaths could be avertedwith key interventions around the time of birth. These include care by a skilled birth attendant, emergency obstetric care, immediate newborn care and newborn resuscitation. Another 30% could be saved through ‘kangaroo mother’ care with skin-to-skin contact starting from birth and other basic methods of prevention, management and treatment of neonatal issues

Prenatal care for mothers

  • Issue: Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causesrelated to pregnancy and childhood, with 99% of maternal deaths occurring in developing countries
  • Way forward: Providing pregnant women with the healthcare they need simultaneously protects the woman’s health and helps to prevent her child from being orphaned at birth. To protect the mother is to protect the baby.

Defence against preventable diseases

HIV/AIDS testing and treatment

  • Issue: Each year of the last decade, at least 10 million children under the age of 18 lost either one or both parents to AIDS. According to UNAIDS, in 2017 there were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide known to be living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 1.8 million were children, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
  • Way forward: Progress is being made through providing mothers with medicine. Between 2010 and 2017, the percentage of pregnant women living with HIV who had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies increased by 33% (Source, 2017).

Child poverty issue 3: Education

Education is a huge key to unlocking the futures of children who are being held captive by poverty.

More than 260 million of the world’s children are not in school, while hundreds of millions are attending school yet not receiving any real education. Here are just a handful of the results from the World Data Report 2018 highlighting the importance of making sure every child receives a quality education:

  • Quality childhood education benefits the individual child and society as a whole.
  • The quality of a child’s education directly influences their learning results. No big surprise there, yet hundreds of millions of children today cannot read, write or perform basic maths equations despite attending school.
  • More schooling leads to higher wages. For each year of additional effective schooling, individual adult earnings increase by an average of 10%.
  • Quality education in early childhood impacts the ability to learn, think, process and problem-solve – for life.

Cause for hope

There has been a significant increase in the push to make early childhood and primary education universally accessible. The Global Partnership for Education reports that:

  • 77 million more children were in primary school in 2016 in GPE partner countries compared to 2002.
  • 38% of children were enrolled in pre-primary education in GPE partner countries in 2016 compared to 19% in 2002.
    If current trends continue, between 2017 and 2030, at least 22 million children will miss out on the pre-primary education so critical to their later ability to succeed in school and beyond. Funding and facilitating education as early as possible is of vital importance to stemming the tide of child poverty.

If all children born today in lower-middle income countries could be educated to even a basic level of literacy and numeracy skills, there would be a 13-fold increase in GDP over their lifetimes. When we take care of today’s children by providing nourishment, healthcare and basic education, we systematically empower them to take care of themselves (and their families) as adults.

Child poverty issue 4: Gender 

There’s no way to talk about education and poverty without acknowledging the enormous impact of the gender gap.

A worldwide study of human development levels (quality of life and levels of personal productivity and growth) compared with gender equality levels, confirms an undeniable link between the two. The 10 countries ranking lowest on the Human Development Index – Niger, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali, Liberia and Mozambique – had the highest levels of gender inequality.

For girls, this impacts every area of life:

Girls have far less access to education than boys. Female youths are 1.7 times more likely to be illiterate than male youths.

According to 2018 findings by the World Bank, girls given access to better education grow into women who:

  • are healthier
  • participate more in the formal labour market
  • earn higher incomes
  • have fewer children
  • marry at a later age
  • are less vulnerable to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • are able to provide better health care and education for their own children, should they choose to become mothers.

This combination of factors has enormous potential to lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty and to improve women’s rights. Notably, the better educated a society’s girls are, the more rights and influence they have as women.

Enforced early marriage

Globally, 1 in 5 girls are married before age 18. If child marriage does not decrease, there will be 1.2 billion women who were married as children by 2050.

Child brides face multiple threats including:

  • isolation, limited freedom and disempowerment
  • deprivation of their human rights to health, education and safety
  • sexual abuse and resulting physical, emotional and mental issues
  • dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth
  • increased likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS
  • domestic violence
  • perpetuated poverty due to their lack of access to education and economic opportunity.

Cause for hope

Thankfully, the last decade has seen a 15% decrease in the proportion of women married as children.

Child poverty issue 5: water and sanitation

Water is life. But 663 million people in our world don’t have access to safe drinking water, while 946 million don’t have access to proper sanitation, having no choice but to defecate in the open. A 2017 report shows a staggering level of inequality in access to WASH services around the world, including specific impacts on children.

Effective WASH services hold the key to:

  • Reducing diarrhoea and other enteric diseases.
  • Diarrheal diseases are the second highest contributors to global child mortality, causing about 10% of all deaths in children under five years.
  • Empowering children to attend school.
  • On average, women and children around the world spend 200 million hours every day collecting water.
  • An estimated one in ten girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle.
  • Up to 80% of illnesses in the developing world are caused by poor water and sanitation conditions, leading to children being absent from school – either because the children themselves fall sick, or because they have to stay home and look after a sick family member. In the case of a parent or guardian falling sick, it means loss of work, plunging the family deeper into poverty.
  • Reduce levels of malnutrition and stunting. In Indonesia, only 5% of urban wastewater is safely treated and disposed of, and children living in communities with open defecation during the first 1,000 days of life are 11 percentage points more likely to be stunted.

Cause for hope:

In 2015, 6.6 billion people – 91% of the global population – used an improved drinking water source compared with 82% in 2000.

Yet, despite significant overall increase in the provision of improved WASH facilities over the last two decades, as of 2017 only Australia, New Zealand, North America and Europe are close to achieving universal basic water services. That’s a lot of the world still in need of safe water and improved sanitation.

Issue 6: Climate change and disaster relief 

Disasters, many of which are exacerbated by climate change and are increasing in frequency and intensity, impede progress towards sustainable development. On average there is about one major disaster recorded on the global databases every day on earth, and intensity may be increasing, in some cases as a result of climate change.

Children living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, due to:

  • lack of access to both preventative vaccines and medical care following illness or injury.
  • increased chance of contagion through unsafe water and poor sanitation.
  • low levels of immunity to disease due to food instability and insufficient nutrient supply.
  • homes which are already unsafe shelters and therefore are subject to greater impact by natural disasters.

Cause for hope

We do not have to leave the poorest of the poor defenseless against disasters and climate change. We have the strategic planning knowledge to minimise risks from tsunamis, floods and cyclones through the use of disaster preparedness plans, land-use plans and early warning systems.

Preparation in advance of disasters is both a humanitarian and financial necessity. It’s estimated that investment in humanitarian preparedness in high-risk contexts yields an average financial return of 200%! That means every US$1 spent on preparing is worth an average US$2 needed in the event of an emergency.

How can one person make a difference to child poverty?

It’s about one person, empowering one child.

Every child has the right to a childhood – one that will enable them to thrive in the future. They cannot (and should never have to) provide themselves with all that they need – food, healthcare, clothing, shelter, education or psychosocially nurturing environments in which they are known,

loved and protected. It is the role of the world’s ‘grown-ups’ to give every child their own opportunity to ‘grow up’ – to grow into their full human potential.

Child poverty is a holistic problem, requiring a holistic solution

Compassion is a leading Christian child development charity, working with local churches in developing countries to release children from poverty. Our approach is a personal one: we link a child in poverty with a sponsor to empower them to break the cycle of poverty.

Through child sponsorship, we’re impacting children, families, communities and entire nations.

Courtesy: counterview.org

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Sabrang

For Hiba, 18 months old pellet victim of Kashmir

28 Nov 2019

She cries in pain,
Mother, hold me tight,
I feel cold.
Mother tells her,
It is not cold,
It is the icicles making you chill.
She laments,
Mother, hold me tight.
It is darker than the night around,
Mother tells her,
It is not the night that is dark.
It is the burnt coal surrounding the village.
She whispers,
Mother, hold me tight
I feel thirsty in tidal waves,
Mother tells her,
It is not the jhelum that is aroar,
It is the gush of the verinag that is sore
She screams,
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t breathe,
Mother tells her,
It is not the air that has become dusty,
It is the boots of a man throttling your throat.
She sighs,
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t move,
Mother tells her,
It is not the thunder stopping you,
It is the trigger killing you.
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t see you,
Mother tells her,
Stay calm my child until I pick pellets from your eyes.
Mother sobs and screams.
Hiba holds mother tight and sings a lullaby.

Nayeema Ahmad Mahjoor is associated with Independent Urdu and author of “Lost in Terror”

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/

For Hiba, 18 months old pellet victim of Kashmir

She cries in pain,
Mother, hold me tight,
I feel cold.
Mother tells her,
It is not cold,
It is the icicles making you chill.
She laments,
Mother, hold me tight.
It is darker than the night around,
Mother tells her,
It is not the night that is dark.
It is the burnt coal surrounding the village.
She whispers,
Mother, hold me tight
I feel thirsty in tidal waves,
Mother tells her,
It is not the jhelum that is aroar,
It is the gush of the verinag that is sore
She screams,
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t breathe,
Mother tells her,
It is not the air that has become dusty,
It is the boots of a man throttling your throat.
She sighs,
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t move,
Mother tells her,
It is not the thunder stopping you,
It is the trigger killing you.
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t see you,
Mother tells her,
Stay calm my child until I pick pellets from your eyes.
Mother sobs and screams.
Hiba holds mother tight and sings a lullaby.

Nayeema Ahmad Mahjoor is associated with Independent Urdu and author of “Lost in Terror”

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/

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