Mountain Children’s Foundation » EMERGENCY HELPLINE FOR CHILDREN

EMERGENCY HELPLINE FOR CHILDREN

The MCF has continued to lead the CHILDLINE activities in Dehradun, serving as a first-responder to children in crisis. From April 2016 to September 2016, MCF responded to 222 intervention cases in the following categories:

  • Medical: 16 cases, including taking a young boy to Chandigarh for ongoing treatments following a leopard attack
  • Shelter: 2 cases, mostly involving taking lost children to homes for children.
  • Restoration to family: 6 cases.
  • Protection from abuse: 97 cases.
  • Sponsorship: 30 cases, which generally involved accessing funds or other services from the government on behalf of the children.
  • Referred by another CHILDLINE: 2 cases.
  • Missing children: 57 cases.
  • Emotional support and guidance: 2 cases.
  • Unclassified: 10 cases.

ABecause most of our activities and children’s groups are in rural communities, the MCF CHILDLINE project is an important way for the MCF to connect with children in urban Dehradun. In doing so, we are able to bring our work on issues such as child participation and hygiene, the focus of our MCF/CRY program, to these children as well.

The MCF CHILDLINE team conducts daily outreach in different areas of the city and hosts at least one “open house” every month in different locations such as the railway and bus stations, the parade ground, Gandhi Park, shelter homes, and in the slums. We have established children’s groups in the slums of Shastri Nagar, Sapera Basti and Chamanpuri, and this year celebrated “PABAM Day” — the anniversary of the MCF’s founding on 21st May — with the children of government shelter home Rajkiya Shishu/Balika Niketan Dehradun.

During the annual CHILDLINE Se Dosti week the team carried out a variety of activities with the children and local community, including a debate competition organized in the school,a cricket match, and having children tie dosti (friendship) bands on wrists of police officers.The team also ran a signature campaign to spread awareness aboutthe ills of child begging and child labour.

In addition to providing direct aid to the children, the MCF continuously networks with government officials and other organizations to ensure that services for children are optimal. In turn, this enables the MCF to build alliances with others working on issues related to children. Some examples:

  • Meeting of the CHILDLINE Advisory Board (CAB) and the District Child Protection Society (DCPS) resulted in the Regional Transport Officer ordering the CHILDLINE 1098 number to be painted on the back of the state buses.
  • MCF CHILDLINE and Aasara Trust partnered on an anti-begging campaign in Dehradun city with the support of the district administration.The purpose was to take children who were begging off the streets and get them to attend classes where they could learn that there was a way out if they wanted to stop begging.
  • Coordinated with the Uttarakhand Police’s “Smile Teams.” The Smile Teams were created so that children living in shelter homes could go back to their families with the help of the police. The MCF CHILDLINE staff gave details of homes that the Smile Teams could visit and also names of children who needed to go home. We also coordinated with the Smile Team in getting medical tests done and, if the police were short staffed, accompanied them in getting the children home.
  • MCF CHILDLINE participates on district level meetings organized by Juvenile Justice Board and District Legal Service Authority. In these meeting MCF CHILDLINE briefly talk about cases and give information about CHILDLINE 1098.

A major concern from prior years was assuaged this year when CHILDLINE increased funding so we could boost salaries, which has significantly reduced our staff turnover. We had been losing staff at a high rate because our salaries were so low in comparison to the market.

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