CyloneAmphan doubles the adversity:On 20th May, 2020, the state ofWest Bengal was hit by a massive Cyclone, Amphan which created huge destruction in most parts of the state, the city of Kolkata being the one of the worst affected districts. The coming of the cyclone during this time of the pandemic coupled with the lockdown has been having a devastating impact on the people of the state. The cyclone left with scenes of ravages, water logged areas and broken houses. The slum and red-light area communities had no means to shelter themselves during the course of the cyclone. While situations normalised for people living in proper houses after the cyclone, these underprivileged populations still live without shelters. The very little belongings that they possessed even got destroyed in the cyclone. The children and families in these areas are striving to survive through this phase of the crisis where they are battling hunger, lack of shelter and the risk of contracting the virus at the same time
VITAL has continued to try and support the children and their families as much as we can during this period. Most families were dependent on irregular daily labour for an income and were hit with having no income due to the Lockdown. Grocery kits consisting of rice, wheat, pulses, cooking oil, spices, sugar, salt and tea, were distributed to the families of the children supported by the Nabo Asha centres from April. During May, Nabo Asha staff provided small community awareness campaigns for street and slum families on the impacts of COVID-19 and how to stay safe. Staff have recently been more able to call to families to do counselling sessions with children and parents, ensure that they are safe and to support their well-being and assess any needs
Nov 13, 2020
Working together to help empower children
By Yvonne Neuman - Project Leader
Rambagan, VITAL and CINI have been conducting numerous activities throughout
the years to help empower children. By various methods of linkages and
referrals to systems of education, protection, health and nutrition the duo
have built up a strong convergence among relevant duty-bearers and service
providers. Sensitisation has played a huge role in empowering the children and
parents of the community. They have been equipped with knowledge on how to
defend themselves against vulnerabilities.
Educational support is provided at
centres within the community. These centres which are known as safe spaces are
easy for the children to avail during the evening time which is the peak hour
Capacity Building workshops and
training sessions have helped to empower children where they are sensitised on
various issues of child safeguarding, health and hygiene, career choices,
sexual and reproductive health, anger and stress management, leadership and
Counselling support has been given
to the children to relieve them of the stress and anxiety they have been facing
through isolation and stigmatisation.
Creative Activitiessuch as art
and crafts, dance, dramatics and music tend to give children new opportunities,
a break from the educational curriculum and most importantly a sense of
awareness programmes have been
regularly conducted to sensitise the children and the community members on
issues that have threatening the existence of children within Rambagan.
Children’s/Adolescent’s Group have
been formed to act as peer leaders within the community and propagate child
protection and empowerment within the community.
Mother’s/Parent’s Group is a group of
active guardians involved directly in promoting the safeguarding of children at
Local government has been
actively supporting the activities undertaken to make the community a safe zone
Ward Level Child Protection Committee is
a convergence among the stakeholders and duty-bearers who have strictly taken
up the responsibility of making the community child friendly.