Thursday, 28 October 2010

Creating Awareness

The problem: 
At Spring of Hope, we believe that a problem is not always the challenge… but being unaware of the problem can surely be a big HAZARD! It’s not surprising that sometimes one can live with problems and never realize it until one is told.  In the recent past, we came to learn of the gradually rising cases of child abuse as; child sacrifice, child labor, child neglect, child trafficking; especially among the Orphaned and Vulnerable children (OVCs). These are indeed big Issues to deal with! Surprisingly the community was not addressing this concern openly.

Why child abuse???
Unawareness…! Coupled with the conservative culture of the community that regards children with disability as a waste. Also due to ignorance of the community on the Rights of Orphans and Vulnerable children (OVCs) and lack of knowledge on how and where to handle these cases.

Our Role:
There’s no tool as effective as a conscious, informed and transformed mind. That’s why at SOH, we believe in awareness. We believe that if we are to have the community that has a positive thought about children with disabilities, then we do not have to worry about their actions. We have chosen to talk to our community about the real problem.
On Tuesday 2nd September 2010 we held an awareness workshop on the Rights of Orphans and Vulnerable children. The turn up was enormous! Over 160 people attended. These included Local leaders, Religious leaders, Government officials, the Police, Human Rights Activists and the entire local community from different surrounding villages. We are sure that this campaign was timely. A participant proudly remarked that SOH was pioneering a very apt subject. During the workshop, we comprehensively discussed the Rights of OVCs, the role of the Police and referral for OVC cases. We also publicly introduced the community to the responsible persons and bodies handling OVC cases. We also let the community know more about our services.

After awareness
One afternoon while I was having lunch in a restaurant, one of the community leaders walked up to me and made a remark about the workshop, “I was just planning to come to your office. I am already receiving messages of THANKS from the District about the workshop.”
The number of children on our drop in days has gone up, compared to the past because people are getting to appreciate our work and also their disabled children. What a change!

In future…
There’s a golden secret in sensitization! We plan to use every opportunity we have to create awareness and protect the disabled child. We plan to start positive parenting seminars. We believe that parenting is for all. It’s more than just biological. Each one of us has a role to play. You and I!

Something to think about:
It's still a challenge! Sometimes times our children are sad, not because of the disability but because of the actions of the people around them. What you chose TO DO or NOT DO to a child will affect them the rest of their life. How are you treating that disabled child in your neighborhood??? 

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