“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:
It is an institutional (school) driven project that initiates behaviour changes among the stakeholders in a school in particular and society at large so that our children can be happy, healthy and safe. It is a collective move towards creating a better living environment for our children. The project creates a safety net for students. It builds the capacity of schools by connecting them with various related Govt. and Non-Govt. Organisations like District Legal Service Authorities, Fortis Hospitals, etc. so that the schools can not only prevent abuse but in case of an eventually handle it in a way that is clinically and legally correct.
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:
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:
Besides, children also have rights as equal citizens of India, just as any other adult male or female like:
Schools – Child Rights – Life Skills
It is high time that we introduce child rights in the school curriculum. 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 (Life Skills propounded by World Health Organisation – WHO), and a whole lot more.
The outcomes of life skills prescribed by WHO:
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:
It is high time that we give space to life skills and value education in the school system, which is overburdened by the STEM education module – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
The rationale of Project CACA
Project CACA Committee
Puran Chand (Fr. 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