Mumbai, Maharashtra has witnessed 30 years of its intervention while dealing with the children living in street situations. Yet, lot to be done for them, ensuring each child gets access to her/his basic rights. Since past three years, we, at Bal Raksha Bharat Maharashtra team started working closely with various Govt. Departments and pioneering civil society organisations with a hope to bring systemic changes in the lives of children living in street situations.
To ensure lasting changes, we need to pull in all the required resources within the state. With such intent, Bal Raksha Bharat, in collaboration with Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights organised ‘State Level Steering Committee Meeting’ to understand the issues, challenges while dealing with street children in the state. The meeting was organised on 21st Aug in Mumbai at Y. B Chavan Cultural Hall, Nariman Point, Mumbai. Project ‘TheInvisibles’ has enabled us to organise such well-thought out meeting.
It was heart-warming and encouraging to see the active participation of the various Govt. Departments, representing from State Women and Child Development, UAIDI (Unique Identification Authority of India), Western Railways, Central Railways, Child Welfare Committee, Post Office, Police Department from Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, Collector Office-Mumbai, Labour Commission and reputed NGOs- Hamara Foundation, Shelter Don Bosco, Salaam Baalak Trust, Child Line India, Vatsalya Trust and others.
We have been able to achieve the followings:
- Long-term MoU (Aug 2018 to March 2020) was signed by the Honourable Secretary- MSCPCR, Ms Seema Vyas and GM- State Programmes- SCI, Mr Sanjay Sharma.
- State Level Steering Committee was formed
- Open discussion took place where each department came up with many issues as well as solutions on this issue
- Experience sharing by two child champions from the street of Mumbai moved each participant, resulting the enthusiasm and participation level was very high.
- Commitment received from the departments for holding the steering committee meet in every quarter
- Steering Committee will merge in the existing State Level Task force, formed by the Women and Child Development Department (This arrangement will take us towards sustainable solutions as we aim to travel beyond the project ‘TheInvisibles’).
Our Next move:
- Core Group meeting with Principal Secretary, WCD; Honourable Secretary, MSCPCR and Bal Raksha Bharat. The MoU gets acknowledged and appreciated by WCD.
- Special meeting with Mumbai Municipal Commissioner and appraise him about our latest development on the street children issues.
- Involving State Urban Planning Department (working towards Smart City compliances).