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Today, India is home to many NGOs for children, each of them addressing the goal of child rights and welfare in their own unique ways. Guided by the Government of India’s developmental priorities and vision, child rights organisations in India advocate for, protect, and empower children across the length and breadth of the country. Though they all bring specific contributions and approaches to NGO child welfare, they are united in their commitment to child rights. Through their work, they have demonstrated how a spirit of sustained collaboration and hard work can improve child welfare in India.

This is a legacy of effort that NGOs for children have developed over decades, since India’s independence, and have worked to bring forward organised child protection and welfare, through a variety of ways. Today, their approaches have become far more evolved and purposeful, with greater relevance to their respective developmental areas, and more focused on unique developmental needs, such as food, shelter, and basic healthcare, as well as holistic development needs, such as education, psychological support, and skill development.

Health and Nutrition NGOs

Child rights and development work cannot succeed if children’s basic health and nutrition needs are not met. The truth at the heart of this matter is that hungry or ill children simply cannot be expected to grow and thrive. Recognizing this crucial need, it is common to see NGO for children efforts carry out a variety of interventions to improve the nutritional and health conditions of children. From a macro perspective, NGO child welfare work can be seen as preventive (inclusive of vaccination drives, health check-ups, and hygiene education), and/or curative (inclusive of nutrition SOS, tending to their illnesses, among others).

Educational Empowerment NGOs

Given the criticality of child education, it is no surprise to see the presence of many an NGO working for child welfare prioritise education. Such child welfare NGOs implement a variety of educational initiatives for children that suit the children’s respective needs. From mobile van schools to exposure to a formal school experience, these NGOs work to ensure that children, no matter who they are, have access to the learning opportunities they need to succeed.

Skilling and vocational training NGOs

After a certain age, many children cannot be introduced into the fold of traditional classroom education, simply because they lack the basic foundational skills, including reading, writing and arithmetic. However, this does not mean that they are to be entirely excluded from the world of learning. Instead, NGOs working for children in the learning and skilling domain help equip older street children with a variety of relevant and job-centric skills, so that they can secure meaningful employment, and eventually transition to a stable adult life.

NGOs focused on advocacy

Policy efforts make a significant difference in strengthening policy through their advocacy efforts. Recognising this, NGOs working for children bring forward grassroots experience and insights into how policies can be better implemented and evolved to align them to developmental realities. They bring forward findings and perspectives of representatives of a child welfare NGO and other stakeholders. Through this effort, they are able to afford greater protection to children, and uphold child rights, in accordance with national and international laws.

These are just some of the many ways that child welfare organizations in India are making a difference. Across developmental priorities, what remains common is that operations hinge on greater collaboration between NGOs and government bodies, as well as other stakeholders. This sense of partnership helps achieve a greater impact for individual initiatives. As India continues on its journey of growth, NGOs for children’s rights in India will play a crucial role in ensuring that the socio-economic benefits reach the last mile. The work of NGOs for children’s rights in India helps evolve and sharpen policies, and bring globally benchmarked best practices to India through national child welfare strategies that make the difference.

Altogether, every NGO working for child welfare is guided by national priorities as well as global frameworks, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which India ratified in 1992. Child rights organisations in India have both worked to strengthen policies, as well as leveraged the Government of India’s strong political will to align their initiatives with national priorities.

Bal Raksha Bharat, also known as Save the Children, is a leading child rights organisation in India. They are committed to catalysing immediate and lasting change for children across 15 states and three Union Territories of India. Since 2004, they have directly reached over 10 million children, more than 50 per cent of whom are girls. They address numerous aspects of childhood including access to health and nutrition, quality education, protection from harm, and addressing child psychosocial needs

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