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Tell children that no one should touch or look at their private parts. No one should ask them to touch or look at their private parts.

Overview

“One can spend a lifetime trying to forget a few moments of one’s childhood.”

Project CACA is a child centric, preventive and holistic project against Child Abuse in general Child Sexual Abuse in particular, child rights and gender equality. It creates a safety net for children through:

  • Age Appropriate and progressive safety workbooks based on WHO’s life skills and Moral Science (Kindergarten to class 12).
  • Companion Parent teacher resource booklet.
  • Various sensitization/ awareness workshops for teachers, parents and non-teaching staff on child abuse, child rights and laws related to children like POCSO/JJA.

It is an institutional (school) driven child rights based project that initiates behaviour changes among the stake holders in a school in particular and society at large. It is a collective move towards creating a better and healthier living environment for our children. The project creates a safety net for students by connecting the schools with various related Govt. and Non Govt. Organisations.

CHILD RIGHTS

United Nations and Child Rights

The United Nations (UN) is an association of about 200 countries including India that have agreed to work together for peace, improved social conditions, economic development, public health and human rights of people. The UN Convention of the year 1989 on the Rights of the Child (CRC or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The CRC defines a child as a person below the age of 18 years. The core principles behind the rights of the children are –

Non-Discrimination                         Best Interest of the Child

Survival and Development           Participation / Inclusion

The Convention is a legal document and India became a signatory to it in 1992. Since then, we have improved (and still improving) our child-related laws and related agencies to make them at par with the Convention. For example, Juvenile Justice Act – JJA, 1986 was replaced by Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. This Act was further amended repeatedly. POCSO act 2012 i.e. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences is another act like JJA that provides a safety net for children. Now, we also have Right to free and compulsory elementary education for all children in the 6-14 year age group. Besides, the Govt. of India formed the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) to bring all organisations related to child rights across India under a single umbrella. The scheme became operational in 2009. One can stem out many rights based on the core principles of CRC. Some of the rights as described in the various articles of the CRC are:

  1. The Right to Health
  2. The Right to Education
  3. The Right to Family Life
  4. The Right to be protected from Violence (Even parents have no right to hurt the child.)
  5. The Right to an Opinion
  6. The Right to be protected from Exploitation (Every child has the right to be protected from sexual abuse.)

All children deserve equality, despite their difference. They are entitled to all of these rights, no matter what race, colour, religion, language, ethnicity, gender or abilities define them.

 

Indian Constitution and Child Rights

The Constitution of India is the supreme law (the law of the land) and provides guidelines to form new laws and change existing laws. Every person, even a child, has fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitution is the guarantor, and the judiciary is the protector of these rights.

Here are a few rights for children as per the Constitution:

  • Right to free and compulsory elementary education for all children in the 6-14 year age group.
  • Right to be protected from any hazardous employment till the age of 14 years.
  • Right to be protected from being abused and forced by economic necessity to enter occupations unsuited to their age or strength.
  • Right to equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and guaranteed protection of childhood and youth against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

Besides, children also have rights as equal citizens of India, just as any other adult male or female like:

  • Right to personal liberty and due process of law.
  • Right to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labour.

Schools and Child Rights

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – CRC also affected the working and philosophy of the schools, the world over for example Corporal Punishment Ban, Introduction of Life Skills teaching (10 Life Skills propounded by World Health Organisation – WHO), and a whole lot more.

The outcomes of life skills prescribed by WHO:

  • Child Care and Protection
  • Prevention of Child abuse; Suicide
  • Gender equality
  • Good Citizenship and Democracy
  • And more…

Some examples of use of Life Skills’ teaching for creating Awareness, Prevention and Behaviour changes among the stake holders in schools in particular and society at large:

  • Zimbabwe; Thailand: HIV/AIDS
  • India: HIV/AIDS; Substance &Child Sexual Abuse (AEP–UNFPA/NCERT– MWCD)
  • Mexico: Adolescent Pregnancy
  • UK: Child Abuse
  • USA: Substance Abuse & Violence

The rationale of Project CACA

Project CACA Committee

Puran Chand (General Secretary, Council of Boards of School Education in India – COBSE): Chairperson Project CACA Committee.

Dr. Amit Sen (Senior Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Children First, Safdarjung): Advisor Child Psychology and mental health

Dr. Kiran Agarwal (Fr. President Indian Academy of Pediatrics – Delhi): Advisor Child Health

Dr. Dinesh Kumar (Fr. Head Publication and currently HOD Science – National Council of Educational Research and Training – NCERT): Advisor Academic

Dr. Geeta Chopra (Professor in Delhi University, Activist and Author in the field of Child Rights and Childhood Disability): Advisor Child Rights

Hemlata Suri (Counsellor, Carmel Convent School, Chanakyapuri, Delhi): Advisor School Counseling

Tanuja Sharma (School counsellor, The Indian School, Muscat): Advisor School Counseling

Dr. Jayanti Banerjee (Faculty Psychology, The Mother’s International School, Delhi): Advisor teaching Psychology as a subject to school students.

Shweta Shrivastava (Special Educator, Presidium School): Advisor Special Education

Michelle Mendonca (Fr. Project Director Counsel to Secure Justice): Advisor Legal

CartCACA Workbooks