Mumbai: After successful launch of “Khilta Bachpan”, an innovative campaign that promotes art education as a means to support children ‘Engage, Express, Empower’, ChildFund India in association with Lady Irwin College organized an event –“Children Advocating for their Rights Through Arts”, as part of its Child-Led Child Protection initiative under the campaign. The event took place at the Amphitheatre at Lady Irwin College in New Delhi. At this event, children from government schools came forward and voiced their concerns related to their rights and protection using various Art forms. The main objective of this initiative is to empower children as Catalysts of Change.
While we have child protection mechanisms in place, we, as a country, are still working towards providing our children with the opportunity to have voice, platform, and engage meaningfully in the decisions that affect their protection and access to recourse. ChildFund with an aim to achieve SDG Target 16.2, which seeks to end violence against children, has been working to improve child protection and reduce violence against children by providing children and youth and their communities with knowledge about their rights and the child protection system, enabling them to monitor child protection systems, engage in informed dialogue with decision-makers and work with key stakeholders to realize positive change at the community and national level.
Art Education plays an important role in helping children develop, engage meaningfully, build resilience, and reach their utmost potential. Engaging in Arts helps children to control their negative emotions by providing them with means to constructively cope with and channelizes their energies towards positive outcomes.
“We believe children need to be aware of their rights; their right to survival, protection, participation and development, as it is fundamental to building strong and confident young citizens. When given the right platform, channel to express and encouragement they can play a role in their own protection and be the advocates for generations to come. We are aware that Arts is the most effective channel for creative expression, development and to influence young minds. We do live in the most vulnerable and unstable environment, this initiative gives them the opportunity to stay safe, protected and grow up in a protected environment,” shared Neelam Makhijani, Country Director and CEO of ChildFund India.
At the event, 100 children from 10 schools who were trained by the students of Lady Irwin College and professional artists performed a dance as well as skits based on child protection related issues; artworks created by them expressing their thoughts and imaginations related to child rights were also displayed.
The highlight of the event was the discussion between children and duty bearers, such as Mr. Mohammad Salam Khan – Chairperson, Child Welfare committee (Distt. South East), Dr. Pawan Sudhir -Professor, Department of Education in Arts and Aesthetics, NCERT, Mr. Shashank Shekhar –Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Former DCPCR member and Consultant Child Protection, Dr. Pulkit Mathur – Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition, Lady Irwin College and Ms. Rita Singh -Member, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), who discussed about the protection issues faced by children, roles of the duty bearers and how best the children can protect themselves by understanding their rights better. The discussion was moderated by Dr Vinita Bhargava, Professor, Lady Irwin College.
The event was attended by government school children, Principals, representatives from various corporate organizations, government and non- governmental organizations especially from child rights-based organizations and forums as well as individuals.