A march for children with Nobel Peace Prize winner and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi
Apart from meeting children and organisations in the field of child protection, Satyarthi will meet with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to highlight the problems faced in dealing with child abuse cas
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Child welfare organisations in the capital are looking forward to a special visit on Tuesday. Nobel Peace Prize winner and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi is scheduled to visit the capital as part of his national campaign to protect children from abuse. Apart from meeting children and organisations in the field of child protection, Satyarthi will meet with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to highlight the problems faced in dealing with child abuse cases.
Child Protect Team (CPT), a voluntary organisation with considerable membership in the district, is playing a key role with Satyarthi Children’s Foundation during the Nobel laureate’s march in the state. They will be part of a rally led by Student Police Cadets from Manaveeyam Road to Tagore Theatre on September 12 at 11 am.
How CPT was set up
“We would see children loitering alone on the streets or with nomadic people seeking alms. Not many bother to check on their plight. CPT makes an effort to ensure these children are alright,” said Shantakumar, the vice-president of CPT and a journalist.
The organisation was founded in January when C K Nazar, a Kanhangad native, watched a video of a child in distress in a WhatsApp forward. Since then the group has been involved in tracking missing children, studying cases of physical and mental abuse, alerting authorities on the activities of child traffickers and counselling drug addicts.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the group has also intervened in the fight for justice in the case of alleged medical negligence leading to the death of four-month-old Rudra in July 2016. “From the beginning, we provided support to Rudra’s parents in their fight for justice though there were pressures from all corners to withdraw our support,” said Shantakumar.
In the last nine months, CPT has grown into an organisation with around 500 active members who coordinate activities via WhatsApp. There are around 85 WhatsApp groups, belonging to CPT, followed by around 20,000 people in the state and abroad. The organisation also has a separate wing in the Middle East.
It keeps a tab on missing children and volunteers, including police officers, who take a lead in tracking them. Though so far the group has managed to trace 117 children, it is only the tip of the iceberg, considering the number of children missing in the country every year, a fact Satyarthi will highlight in his march.
The efforts of CPT is not limited to offline abuse cases. It has rescued two children - in Ernakulam and Wayanad - who were found taking the Blue Whale Challenge, a dreaded online game prompting the player to commit suicide as the ultimate dare.