“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa.
Our country is heading towards a glorious and prosperous future. With our economy booming and our human capital growing, very little stands in the way of our pursuit of greatness. We all know about India’s growth in terms of industry, commerce and trade. We see a good deal of indicators to support it on news channels, but what most of us don’t see or hear about in detail is the flip side of our success.
India’s success, in terms of its robust outlook was credited to its growing young population which ranked “Number 1” in terms of size by the UN. But what we are not aware of, is that around 40% of our children (below the age of 18) are in or are at the risk of facing very difficult situations.
The statistics seem jarring. It seems quite surprising, that a country whose success in today’s world markets as a result of the growing youth population, houses around 170 million children who have no support systems in terms of a family or a guardian to help them adequately deal with the risks they are being exposed to on a daily basis. These risks include starvation, malnutrition, HIV / AIDS, sexual or physical abuse, all as a result of neglect and the lack of social support.
To every light there is darkness.
And this is our darkness. India is the home to around 44 million destitute children and over 12 million orphans and abandoned children. Their only refuge seems to be shelter homes and children homes set up by the state or private donors. The picture painted by these institutions is rarely a rosy one. Even under institutional care, these children are exposed to varying degrees of physical / sexual abuse, neglect, risk of malnutrition and discrimination.
At Make A Difference (MAD) we believe in providing children in vulnerable conditions with equitable outcomes. To most it may seem that the needs of children in child care institutions are largely restricted to material requirements like food, shelter, clothes and a maybe bare minimum education.
In reality, their needs are exponentially so much more than just materialistic requirements and to a large extent they revolve around being given the same opportunities that any other child with adequate social support would be entitled to. Our intention is to be able to provide to these children equal opportunities in terms of education, career, social status and adequate social support.
We don’t believe that the community / society is apathetic to their needs. This misconception is not a result of not caring, but, is a result of not being fully aware of the needs of children in child care institutions. We believe that the community / society can take a stand and support these children only when it is fully aware of their needs. By equipping the community with such knowledge and information, we hope to engage the community and aid them in supporting these children and collectively making a positive change in the life of the child.
And that is what we hope to achieve with the Back – A – Thon 2015. We hope to make aware the needs of the most vulnerable part of society and support them by building up an eco – system within our community to be able to give them reliable social safety networks.
A great man once rightly said that “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”. India is a growing nation and the opportunities are bountiful. So why not let every child have the opportunity to be a part of it. Join us in our attempt to spread awareness by walking with us at the Back – A – Thon 2015.