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Paschim Banga Yuba Kalyan Manch (PBYKM) has been working on various development programs since 1992 and was registered as a Society in 1997-1998. Since inception the organization has focused on education, health, human rights, agriculture and income generation. In 2005, PBYKM formed a State Level Child Protection Cell in West Bengal to protect the rights of children where national/international development agencies and stakeholders from government departments participated. PBYKM became a member of the West Bengal Education Network (WBEN) a right-based network on education focusing on unprotected children. To ensure children’s elementary education, health and nutrition, the organization is undertaking integrated actions. Presently it is working with the support of a few government, national and international development agencies, for children of marginalized communities through building support systems and community awareness programs in 5 slums of 3 wards of Kolkata in West Bengal.
The intervention slums are mostly inhabited by a mixed culture and composition of people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. There is prevalence of general caste, but a sizeable population belongs to the scheduled castes also. The working population is dependent on rickshaw pulling, driving, small shops/business, daily wage earning activities, domestic workers. Children are found to be working in shops and engaged as domestic labor. These working children often face physical and mental abuse. Of the total 65 pregnant women identified it has been observed that 47 are taking immunization (72.3%). There is prevalence of knowledge that immunization needs to be undertaken during pregnancy. In terms of education, children in most of the cases drop out during the shift from primary to middle and secondary level schools. Inadequate secondary schools facilitate a natural exclusion process.
- Identifying various protection issues through interaction with children.
- To orient and mobilize local clubs on various child rights issues prevalent in the area and address those through community involvement.
- To develop synergy between community and urban governance structures.
- To establish linkages with the media to highlight the situation of child rights in the area
- To develop mechanisms to build relationship between community and the police to address the issues of child protection.
- 72% immunization coverage for pregnant women.
- Birth registration ensured for almost 95% of children within 0-1 year.
- 25 children involved in domestic labor and in other forms of labor were identified and sent back to schools after awareness programs with their parents and school authorities. School fees were waived for them.
- Awareness programs were conducted with children, local clubs, parents and community based organization’s for addressing the issue of alcoholism and substance abuse in the area.
- Interface was done with students, school management committees and parents to discuss the unhygienic sanitation conditions in schools, course curriculum, mid-day meals, garbage disposal in school adjoining areas, child sexual abuse and gender discrimination.
- 70% of the child marriages are documented and acted upon by local clubs and community members and in 3 cases, the police intervened to rescue the girl child.
- Orientation on immunization and development of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials for generating community awareness.
- Data collection from the ICDS centers and monthly sessions with mothers and pregnant women to assess the status of immunization, birth registrations and supplementary nutrition support.
- Capacity building sessions on child protection issues involving DIKSHA and the Coalition for Children Rights to Protection (CCRP) to know the manner in which various protection issues are dealt with.
- To identify & document the prevalence of child labor. Orientation programs with the guardians & local club members for elimination of child labor and seeking entitlements for livelihood schemes for adults.
- Orientation from the Legal Adviser of PBYKM on the legal aspects of child protection.
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