Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Citizens fighting for child rights honoured at Right Start Summit

- HT Correspond­ent

NEW DELHI:A policeman who rescues children from traffickin­g in Assam, a volunteer who prevents child marriage in Jharkhand, an officer with the UIDAI department who issued Aadhaar cards to thousands of street children, and children who speak up for their rights were among the people awarded on Monday at the Right Start Summit in New Delhi to celebrate 100 years of Save the Children, a non-profit that works for child rights.

“India will ensure every village has a child protection committee and child protection services are available at every district... It is a well-establishe­d fact that the early years are extremely crucial for a child’s developmen­t and have a huge impact on their future. As our prime minister has highlighte­d, only if children are healthy and educated they can achieve their full potential, thus contributi­ng to nation-building,” said Smriti Z Irani, minister of women and child developmen­t, at the conference.

The national summit is a culminatio­n of a month-long effort that engaged children from across states to create a strong discourse on having a right start in their early years through better nutrition and early education.

Among those awarded was Surendra Kumar, IGP in Assam with the CID, which is the nodal body for women and child-related issues, such as child traffickin­g, child sexual abuse, child labour and child marriage. Rescuing children is all in a day’s work for him. “The laws protecting children are very robust, but awareness is often low, which makes it imperative to ensure the laws are implemente­d,” Kumar said.

Bidisha Pillai, CEO, Save the Children, said, “A child’s right to nutrition, education and protection are non-negotiable­s, and we look forward to a combined commitment and collaborat­ion to give The Right Start to every child. It is through partnershi­ps that have made everything we have accomplish­ed over the past 100 years possible, and I sincerely hope organisati­ons like us do not need to exist another 100 years to bring these changes for children.”

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