Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daring to Care - A School Based Campaign for "every child's right to be safe from child sexual abuse, all the time and everywhere"

Mrs Anu George, Dy. Comm. (Education) and Mr. Rajesh Lakhoni , Commissioner, Corporation of Chennai, launch the Campaign at the Corporation Primary School Koyambedu
"No violence against children is justifiable and all violence against children is preventable". UN Study on Violence against Children
The Corporation of Chennai has been leading the way by distributing the Tulir Personal Safety Flyer in their primary school system, since the last three years. This year we had over 20 private schools also signing up, affirming their obligation to be at the frontline of child protection.
With a large part of the truly "awake" time of a child's waking hours being spent at school, schools have the potential to both teach protective behaviors effectively and to a greater number of children than any other system, including parental instructions.
Needless to state but we all know that the school and the community of educators and caretakers are one of the most significant aspects of a child's world .
Students 's well being and safety at all times is also a matter of concern for schools. However though concerned and interested in being proactive, schools are often stymied as to a way of taking this forward, for no other reason besides being weighed down as they are with academic and administrative tasks. The "Daring to Care" Campaign was born as a facilitative process to address this concern, and responsibilty.
The flyer is based on the concepts of Personal Safety Education a program, which is an extension of the safety, rules we teach our children, i.e. don't play with fire, look both sides before and while crossing a road, etc. Besides empowering children to take part in their own protection, this flyer also provides parents, the primary care givers, an easy starting point to initiate a discussion with children on a sensitive, difficult topic. Partnering with parents on the issue of personal safety is vital, as we all know that what we teach in schools needs to be supported and reinforced by parents, in order to maximize the effect of our role as educators and caretakers of children.
A society's integrity and worth is not based on whether cases of violence and abuse exist. Instead it is based on the acceptance of the possibilities of violence being inflicted on children and proactive steps taken to respond in a timely and appropriate way to ensure that its children may benefit from its caring and foresight to truly have the right to be safe all the time, everywhere.

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