Safety and Protection
HBT believes that children cannot become empowered change agents to improve their own lives and that of their families and communities if they are not safeguarded from abuse, discrimination and harm of any kind, be it physical, sexual, emotional, or neglect. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 16.2) gives impetus to end all forms of violence against children and to ensure that children have the rights, confidence and environment in which they can make choices, express their views and communicate effectively. Aligned to SDG’s agenda 2030, HBT works towards creating space where children feel free and are able to speak about abuse, are free from abusers and are empowered to become actors in their own protection without further discrimination or shame.
HBT’s Child Protection and Development work focuses on the followings
- Creating Safe places for children in community, neighborhood and in the society
- Creating enabling environment where children can express themselves freely without any inhibitions.
- Educate children about their rights and the safety measures to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation
- Building leadership quality among children and creating agencies of child leaders to address child protection related issues
- Developing and strengthening the support systems for children
Ensuring Child-friendly and Safe environment for children within the Railway Station premises
A large number of vulnerable children come in contact with Railways as passengers or abandoned, trafficked, run away children separated from family. The children who are identified in the station are from different pockets of Odisha and the neighboring states and are at huge risk in the station premises.
A ‘Child Help Desk’ has been set up at Bhubaneswar railway station for children to extend protection and legal aid to children arriving by train besides helping find the missing children. Set up in Platform Number 1, the help desk ensures that a child gets a child-friendly and safe environment within the railway station. This desk is equipped with a trained social workers and provision of food, water, glucose, First-aid, cloths, sandals, bedding kit, sanitary napkins and recreational items etc for children.
Functioning of Child Help Desk
- Identifying and reaching out to every child in contact with Railways
- Round the clock outreach of all six platforms of Bhubaneswar Railway Station and the periphery areas
- Counselling and interacting with the child to make him/her comfortable by professional counsellors
- Girl child outreach through female outreach workers
- Providing first aid and meeting other immediate requirements
Referral of Found Children under the Care and Protection Processes
After necessary documentation of the contacted child as per Juvenile Justice Act mandates with Station Master and Railway Police Force (RFP)/Government Railway Police (GRP), the team produces the children to the Child Welfare Committee for further care and protection.
Creating Awareness and Sensitization at Station
- Educating the public is one of the most important strategies for reducing risks of children found at railway station.
- The information in regard to Child Help Desk/Child Helpline is displayed through boards and posters at the identified locations of the railway station.
- Passenger outreach is a regular activity through which team members reach out to passengers and orient them about child helpline number
- Regular announcements of missing children, helpline numbers through Railway Authority
- Periodic capacity building trainings are organized to enhance knowledge of the concerned stakeholders such as RPF & GRP Staffs, TTEs, vendors, porters, watering staff and station staffs which contribute in creating a child friendly atmosphere at the railway station.
A child help group (CHG) has been formed at station with involvement of Station Master, Inspector-RPF, Inspector GRP, Senior Sector Engineer and the Railway Commercial Manager. The CHG meets quarterly once to review and discuss whether the child care and protection activities are happening in accordance with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) at the Railway Station where Members of Child Welfare Committee and District Child Protection Officer also remain present. Four CHG meetings were organized during the year to continue the work in a coordinated approach.
Making Communities & Public Places Safe for Women & Children
To meet the objective of eliminating violence against all women and children in the public and private spheres and to make the public places safe for them (SDG-5), different activities are undertaken.
Adolescent girls conduct safety audit of the public places and their neighborhoods through a participatory exercise called safety mapping. Safety audit consists of a group of young women and girls walking in public spaces of their neighbourhood (a street, a public square, a park, etc.) to identify the physical and social characteristics that make these places safe or unsafe. The concerns of safety are identiﬁed and suggestive mitigation measures are reported through Charter of Demands (CoDs) before appropriate authorities.
Some of the other activities undertaken by HBT are:
- Community awareness building through street plays, wall paintings and observation of days to eliminate practices like child marriage, child labour etc.
- Community vigilance group formation to monitor and addresses child protection issues
- Awareness & Sensitization building of public transport drivers to ensure safe mobility of women and girls
Self Defense Training
Towards building resilience among women and girls, self-defense training is the most promising intervention of HBT. Self- defense training sessions are conducted to empower the adolescent girls with skills to protect themselves from abuse and violence. This training is of utmost importance and helps in preparing the girls for any unexpected situations to protect and defend themselves.
- 1917 children have been contacted at Bhubaneswar Railway Station through 24×7 Child Help Desk
- 37000 passengers reached through sensitization and awareness on child protection mechanism
- 880 adolescent girls are provided self defense training
- 285 public transport drivers of Bhubaneswar were trained to ensure safe mobility of women and girls in Bhubaneswar city
- 55 communities in Bhubaneswar made safe for women and girls through safety audits