Mumbai: Save the Children, the first global movement for children, celebrated its 100th anniversary in the presence of Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Minister of Women & Child Development and Textiles, at ‘The Right Start’ Summit held in New Delhi today. 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. The event saw political leaders, civil society organisations, and community members in a congregation, as children shared, with the Hon’ble Minister, their powerful stories of leading change.
The event was also marked by a panel discussion on building ‘Partnerships for TheRightStart for every last child’ and saw some thoughtful discussions between Sh. Priyank Kanoongo Chairperson, NCPCR, Yasmin Haque, India Representative, UNICEF, Sakina Baker, CSR Head Phillips India, Prof. Zubair Meenai, Chairperson CECDR, Jamia Millia Islamia and Sumitra Mishra, Convenor, Alliance to Right for Early Childhood Development.
In her inaugural address, the Hon’ble Minister stated, “I congratulate Save the Children, their partners, and children, who are engaged in outstanding work at the grassroots. Save the Children has supported children access their rights every day, consistently for 100 years and that is remarkable. 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. Our Government has implemented several schemes and programmes for children to provide robust health, nutrition, education, and protection services. I am happy to note that Save the Children has initiated a nationwide campaign for children, demanding The Right Start.”
She further added, “I am hopeful that the mapping of street children that is being done by Save the Children, the results of it will be shared with the ministry. It is our endeavour that the ministry of statistics we emulate that process so that no child is left behind. In the ministry of textiles for the past 3 years we have designated the national open school and university with the responsibility that when a handloom worker’s family or handcraft artisan reaches out to them, they shall ensure that the education for that child is completely provided for. We are more than happy to include children from Save the children in our program.”
Bidisha Pillai, CEO, Save the Children, said, “It gives us immense pleasure to have Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Woman &Child Development and Textiles amidst us as Save the Children celebrates its centenary, globally. A child’s right to nutrition, education, and protection are non-negotiables, and we look forward to a combined commitment and collaboration to give #TheRightStart to every child. It is through partnerships that have made everything we have accomplished over the past 100 years possible, and I sincerely hope that organisations like us do not need to exist another 100 years to bring these changes for children.”
Ms Pillai also announced Save the Children’s centenary commitment to end childhood pneumonia, a leading cause of under-five mortality in India. The campaign is being rolled out in ten districts across five states of Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Rajasthan over the next three years (2019-21) and aims to impact over a million children from across these states. Recently, as part of giving children ‘The Right Start’, Save the Children and NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent (SOI), with a joint focus to improve indicators in education, health & nutrition with particular focus on Early Childhood Care under ‘The Aspirational Districts Program’.
The senior leadership shared Save the Children’s legacy through the launch of a centenary book and felicitated Child Champions, individuals from media and their institutional partners who have worked relentlessly on child rights issues.