ChildFund International, a global child protection and development organisation, has been working in India since 1951 through its unique child-centric programmes, making a difference in millions of lives, especially the underprivileged. Through its Books, My Friends reading improvement programme, ChildFund has set-up over 200 well-equipped libraries in government schools across its implementation areas. Further, to make the reading material more accessible to children, ChildFund has also introduced solar-powered Mobile Libraries — the first one in Bengaluru, sponsored by Axis Bank and solarised by Bajaj Electricals, and the second one in Jharkhand, sponsored by ONGC.
Kid start: ChildFund's Project Udaan supports the youth from underprivileged families
“Given our understanding of the situation and the ground reality, the Books, My Friends programme was conceptualised to not only promote a culture of reading, but also to improve reading abilities and basic literacy in children and the youth belonging to rural and semi-urban areas spread across our country,” says Neelam Makhijani, Country Director and CEO, ChildFund India.
Talking about the safety of children, Neelam says that child trafficking cases in India have increased. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 19,223 women and children were trafficked in 2016, compared to 15,448 in 2015. Of the total cases reported in 2016, a 27 percent increase in the number of children trafficked was noted. Neelam also draws attention to the inefficiency of the government to provide a clearer picture of the present scenario.
Trafficking is one of the largest industries and India is a hub for trafficking in Asia. Data for trafficking is hard to find as most of such incidents are not reported
Neelam Makhijani, Country Director and CEO, ChildFund India
“The Government of India has policies, laws, programmes, and schemes to protect children from trafficking. It can be further improvised, but there is an urgent need for proper implementation of the existing policies to have a functional and accountable child protection system,” she insists, adding, “They should build a conducive and enabling environment so that no child falls out of the safety net and even if they happen to, the system should be able to return them to their normal positive environment.”