Prior to Unnati’s interventions, the rights of children in Udaipur District were being routinely violated. Child labour and child trafficking were common and Unnati had recorded over 1,000 cases of out-of-school children. The region’s geographical location meant that many children were sent to the Bt Cotton fields in Gujarat for seasonal migration. Children were forced to work under excruciating heat for hours at a time with little to no breaks and very little pay. They regularly faced violence and abuse from bosses. Apart from that, children with disabilities face negative attitudes and they are still believed to be a curse and shame on society. If a child is born with a disability, he/she is kept in isolation, ill-treated, and excluded from everything that is related to family and society.
Unnati aims to build and promote a protective environment for children, reduce child labour and promote inclusive spaces in societies to improve the social, cultural and economic status of children and people with disabilities.
This is achieved through:
- Creating and strengthening local structures, including Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPCs), Panchayat Level Child Protection Committees (PLCPCs), School Management Committees (SMCs) and Panchayat Standing Committees.
- Creating awareness among the community on the harms of child labour, the importance of education, and the inclusion of children with disabilities.
- Linking vulnerable children and families with government social protection schemes that reduce the need for child labour.
- Formation of Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in various villages in order to empower people with disabilities and make them aware of their rights and entitlements.
- Conducting Child Cabinets and Advocates in the schools to promote inclusive learning spaces and help children with disabilities in feeling safe.
- Helping children and people with disabilities in availing the benefits of Government schemes for their benefits such as disability pensions, escort allowance to school going children, bank loans, availing entitlements, etc.