Every section of society must play a key role to help children amid COVID-19 pandemic: MCPCR

Universal Children’s Day 2020 observed in Manipur on November 20 to give awareness to parents and other section of the society to spread awareness.

Hundreds of millions of children are affected in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the crisis situation, to ensure togetherness and awareness among children who are unprotected, unrooted and unschooled, every section of society should play a key role, MCPCR chairperson P Manibabu Sharma said in Imphal Friday.

Manibabu was addressing the Universal Children’s Day 2020 function organised by the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR), the State Child Protection Society (SCPS), the Child Protection Society (CPS), Scheme, the Union Women and Child Development Ministry, the Social Welfare Department, and the Manipur government at the Manipur Press Club in Imphal.

“The entire world has been struggling due to COVID-19 pandemic. As normal life came to a standstill, every section of society, including children, are affected and suffering from mental stress,” the MCPCR chairman said. He said that MCPCR has engaged NGOs to give counselling to children as “constant effort must be taken up to ensure that the mental health of children does not worsen”.

Manibabu said that after he became MCPCR chairperson, he took advice and suggestions from different stakeholders to promote and protect children and students of the state. And, the recommendation for rules and regulation of hostel or boarding of schools will be submitted in 2021, he added.

Department of Social Welfare director Ng Uttam said, “It is very sad to celebrate without children on Universal Children Day, due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, celebrating World Children’s Day on November 20 is to give awareness to parents and other section of the society to spread awareness.”

It is very difficult to bring awareness by organising awareness programme in anywhere, he said, adding, “Matured people also do not know his or her rights. Then, how would children know their rights? Therefore, we should find a way of imparting knowledge effectively”.

Uttam said, “Counselling of children or students should be made compulsory in every school rather than giving punishment for any wrongdoing. If it starts with the present generation than it will not take time to be followed for the next generation. So providing counselling to students should go together in schooling”.

He appealed for suggestions from the public to be added on draft Manipur State Policy for Children 2020, as the drafted policy emphasises on victim conflict and nothing about normal children.

Social Welfare Minister Okram Henry also spoke on the occasion and called to organise such celebration or any related children programme in every children's shelter home. He expressed his wish to interact with children in the field.

“To know effective utilisation of NGOs, field visits and field interaction is a must,” he said, pointing out that some NGOs do not work in the field.

The minister also said that there is a need for mass awareness and advocacy campaigns about child rights across the state. All the stakeholders including the officials of the department should work together for the welfare of the children with dedication at the grassroots level, he said.

“We all need to ensure that the children who are residing at children homes run by various NGOs are provided better care and protect their due rights,” Henry said. He also appealed to the officials concerned to conduct regular inspections and access the conditions of children and shelter homes of the state.

As a part of the celebration, cultural programmes were performed by children through a video presentation. The celebration was attended by officials and members of the organisations.

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First Published:Nov. 20, 2020, 2:43 p.m.

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