“Child Friendly Panchayats are building blocks for making any district, state or nation Child Friendly but first step in this regard is making villages child friendly. Efforts of a single department cannot make any village or Panchayat child friendly. It is a very challenging task which requires joint efforts of multiple government departments as well as non-government organizations.” These were the views expressed by Mr. Rakesh Tiwari, Child Protection Expert from Prayatn, while he was facilitating a joint district level workshop called on 21/12/2022 by Prayatn Sanstha and District Child Protection Unit along with Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and Police in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. The workshop was called as part of the ‘Moving Ahead’ project being implemented by Prayatn for ensuring child protection in the division in the backdrop of the recent orders issued by the central and the state government for brainstorming on making Gram Panchayats child friendly.

Continuing his deliberation, Mr. Tiwari stated, “To make ‘A Child Friendly Village’, an action plan has to be prepared by taking into account each and every single issue of community people and their children, in which Panchayat Level Child Protection Committee will play a vital role. It is very necessary to conduct regular meetings of Panchayat Level Child Protection Committee every month and proposals should be written on the issues related to child protection during the meetings. Each and every proposal should then be discussed in the Gram Sabha and the issue must be resolved.”

Chief Guests Mr Madan Mohan Sharma and Mr Rajaram Bhutauli, both being members of the Bharatpur Child Welfare Committee, added to the discussion by saying, “It is our responsibility to not only impart quality education but also good manners to our children. For this, it is very important to create a child friendly environment at school, home as well as village level in order to drift children away from juvenile crimes and to link them to the main stream of the society.”

Special Guest of the program Ms. Neeru Sharma, member of Juvenile Justice Board, Bharatpur, got into operational details of dealing cases of children in conflict with law. She Stated, “Police Department should do proper counselling of a child in conflict with the law before bringing him/her to the Juvenile Justice Board so that Juvenile Justice Board can take appropriate decision in the best interest of child on time.”

While presiding over the program, Mr Amit Awasthi, Assistant Director, Department of Child Rights and ex-officio Secretary, District Child Protection Unit elaborated the Mission Vatsalya scheme in detail. He informed, “Mission Vatsalya Scheme has been implemented in the present year 2022 as the umbrella scheme of government under which we need to work towards giving a healthy and happy childhood. Work also has to be done for ensuring quality education. Child protection data base will have to be prepared in the district. By working on making each and every single village child friendly, a day will come when our entire district itself will become child friendly.

Other who authorities who graced the occasion with their view included Mr Kunwar Pal Singh – Area in-charge of Government Railway Police, Mr. Ashok Kumar – Area In-charge of Railway Protection Force, Mr. Lekhraj from Anti-Trafficking Unit, Mr. Atendra, Mr. Vikas and Mr. Durgesh from Child Rights Department, Advocate Raveena and Shivani Bansal from Women Empowerment Department, Ms. Pooja Basumati from Women and Child Development Department. Master trainers Mr Indrajit and Mr Lokendra, and Mr Jandel Singh from District Childline. Mr. Sundar Singh, Assistant Project Officer, Prayatn Sasntha, anchored the brainstorming workshop which was attended by more than 50 participants.

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