Faith Foundation, a child rights organisation that has been working in the field for 10 years, will observe Child Safety week this year, a national campaign by Arpan, a Mumbai-based NGO.
Faith Foundation has been focused on the prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA) through its comprehensive work on conducting the Personal Safety Education Programme (PSEP) in schools and numerous sensitisation programmes with communities and collaborative efforts with state agencies to work for the cause or preventing CSA and strengthening mechanisms for protection and child safeguarding.
Meghalaya has also seen a gradual increase in Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases over the years, the organisation said in a press release today. According to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2021, Meghalaya has the third highest rate of sexual offences against children with 27.8 percent of the crimes committed against children falling in this category.
“The reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg; it is without a doubt that there are numerous unreported cases in the region. As an organisation, sensitising people on CSA and the need of reporting has been crucial and we are running several campaigns of which Child Safety Week is one,” Faith Foundation, which has been working with Arpan since 2021, said.
Child Safety Week is a national campaign that was conceptualised by Arpan in 2019 as a collaborative movement to raise awareness and encourage collective action on the issue of CSA. A week in November, from 14 to 20, is dedicated to highlighting the importance of child safety through conversations and events.
This year the objective of Child Safety Week is to help adults understand that ‘It’s Okay To Say No’ and to challenge the cultural norm of saying ‘Yes’, thus ensuring the safety of children.
This year’s campaign will be observed by organising a variety of programmes to increase sensitisation on CSA and highlight the importance of children’s protection and safety. They comprise ‘studio shift’ at Police Bazaar in collaboration with Red FM today, street play at Ïew Nongmensong and Don Bosco Square Laitumkhrah on Thursday and Friday at 1pm, bicycle rally on Saturday at 8:30am and mural painting in Jaiaw next Monday at 9am.