Everybody talks about leaving a better planet for children. Why nobody tries to leave better children to the planet? Because every child in the world has one thing in common – their rights. “Schools and parents should know how to protect children and ensure a code of conduct for interaction with adults…” – says, Nancy Thomas. So, with an open mind to empower the seeds of today to secure the rights, the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle initiated this long awaited child Protection Policy Meet in Kodambakkam.
The session was commenced by Sr. Victoria by her gospel visualization wherein Jesus embraces children and tells, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” – Matthew 19:14 and the beautiful prayer to fill our eyes with His love and our soul with His peace. Sr. Neha gave a warm welcome to the present assembly with her meticulous words of welcome and as the names were being mentioned, the pearl garland was adorned on each resource persons. Owing to the strong recommendations and strong support of our Mother Provincial, Sr. Soosai Magnificat and 55 Sisters of the Chennai zone happily partook in this great event. She began her introductory talk informing us about the need for having this special meet, the commitment to protect children from abuse, exploitation, organizational negligence and intentional and unintentional harm by preparing policies and guidelines to realize them.
Sr. Arockia Mary Selvi, the Social development office introduced her theme that it is an urgent call of the hour to set Standard Operating Procedures through systems and mechanisms in all FMA Institutions to defend the rights for their holistic development. Therefore this policy is a concrete expression of our loving commitment to the welfare and well-being of the children under our care, assuring protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. Through the ice-breakers, each one was enthused and refreshed to indulge in this meet.
- Sr. Isabella, the NDF Co-ordinator, the resource person laid out the people involved in this particular group – FMA India
- The staffs at all levels render full time or part time service in our institutions.
- Educating community
- Networking Agencies
- Well wishers and benefactors
Thus, with these she explained the background of CPP.
Mrs. Sephrina, the trainee of NDF briefed in her ideas on “Understanding Complaint Mechanisms and Documentation” with the flowchart of Provincial on top of the hierachial setup followed by the Animator of the community, Child Protection Officer (FMA) and all FMA Institutions / Centres (Formal and non-formal).Then, later familiarizing with the external agencies by her and also a few points were shared in by Mr. Prashanth. They enumerated the structure of the complaint mechanisms, role and functions of the designated officers and General Procedures to be followed in all cases of complaint.
Mr. Prashanth Fredric, the trainee of Aruwye took a session on Understanding Violation against children and gaining awareness on child rights making us aware of the terms – child abuse, child protection, child exploitation, child protection officer, child protection committee Local Enquiry Commission, Province Enquiry Commission and the complaint box; types of abuses – physical, emotional, neglect and sexual abuses. He explained it bilingually making us all easy to grasp and comprehend the points behind. The joy of participation was amplified by taking a photo session of the assembly to commemorate this remarkable occasion.
The group work was unceasingly presented over by the various groups with their creativity and innovativeness in reading out new points and suggestions for the forthcoming meet. The evening session was taken over by Sr. Isabella where they had the APM and the declaration profusely and also overtaken by Sr. Selvi to provide a comprehensive framework for the provision and protection of the children.
Finally, the vote of thanks was delivered by Sr. Silviya thanking each members without fail with her simple and pleasant note of phrasal words and concrete examples. Each child is precious and so, with an assurance of ensuring lasting changes in the lives of the children and youth that we meet, we resolved to make the words of Francisse Frias “children grow in the community that they belong to”, to come true as all of us scattered out joyfully back to their houses to begin our glow of life in the footsteps of God.
SR. Sundaram Bernadette NEHA