BOSCO (Bangalore Oniyavara Seva Coota) marked the Celebration of the 3rd International Day of Girl Children on October 11 with the International theme “Empowering the Adolescent Girls and Ending the Cycle of Violence”. The celebration became memorable for the adolescent girl children aged between 14 to 18 years, as they voiced against the endless violence and heinous acts happening against them all over the country.
The chief guest, Mr. Narmada Anand (Programme Manager, Integrated Child Protection Scheme) said, “children are getting abused everywhere, especially girl children. Violence is high on adolescent girls and it is with the help of public and organizations like BOSCO, children’s rights have to be safeguarded at any cost.” The resource person, Ms. Geeta Menon (Founder of Sthree Jagradi Samidhi, a Bangalore Based organization that supports domestic workers and a known women’s rights activist) gave an orientation on the theme of the day in which she exhorted girls to be assertive and say stop to all kind of abuses. She quoted Malala Yousafzai, who is known for her activism in the field of girl child education.
One of the highlights was a two-hour long rally from BOSCO Yuvodaya through Upparpet Police station to Freedom Park, Ramachandra Road, Gandhinagar. More than 150 adolescent girls participated in the rally led by women constables. They also joined by girl children from BOSCO’s shelter homes as well as BOSCO’s street presence areas like city market and Shivaji Nagar. Holding placards that conveyed messages against girl sexual abuse and on the girl’s education, adolescent girls marched around the city and marked the international day of the girl child.
“We have to be educated for our better future and say stop to all abuses,” said Bhavya, an inmate of BOSCO Vatsalya Bhavan. Sunitha who hails from Jolly Mohalla area shared that “a day like this is very much important to know our rights and demand the same from public”.
As the rally moved on, Bosco Outreach staff at the Railway and the Bus station and CHILDLINE team gave Public awareness on the theme ‘stop abuse’ and staged street play against child sexual abuse depicting the life cycle of a girl child.
BOSCO who has been in the forefront fighting for oppressed and downtrodden has rescued 411 girls in the last eight months of which 112 were girls aged between 14 to 16 years old.
Case study: Sumathi, Proud child of BOSCO
Sumati was contacted by BOSCO six months ago from the city railway platform. Now she is all set to change her destiny. She is our proud child being the first girl job placed from the newly inaugurated girls’ centre of BOSCO Vatsalyabhavan.
Sumati was all alone and battered when she was found in the railway station platform. She came to Bangalore in search of a job and BOSCO provided her more than she aspired. She was from a lower middle class family in Kolar District, 100 kilometers away from the city of Bangalore. Her father is a farmer and mother, a house wife. The family was a happy one until Sumati’s father lost all their property in litigation with his brother. This incident very adversely affected her father and he became addicted to alcohol. Gradually Sumati was forced to discontinue her studies due to her family’s financial constraints.
Sumathi at the age of 16 was forced to take up family responsibilities as she was the elder one and started going for daily wage work to meet the day to day requirements of the family. Her earnings were not sufficient to feed all the mouths which forced her to move to Bangalore city along with one of her friends in search of better jobs. After alighting from the train, within seconds, her friend disappeared and she was left alone at the railway station.
When the girl child was sitting all alone at the railway station with a desperate look, BOSCO staff on duty at the railway platform noticed her and offered her all possible help. Knowing about the intention of her coming to Bangalore, she was informed about BOSCO’s vocational training centre for girls where computer and tailoring are taught. The very next step was informing her whereabouts to her family. At the interest of the child, she was brought to Vatsalyabhavan, the new centre for girls.
Sumati was enrolled for skill training as she wanted to acquire a skill and to earn a rather decent salary to support her family. Counselor discovered Sumati’s exceptional interest in computer and she was enrolled for the computer training at Bosco Mane Aircel+ project. Though she had initial difficulties in grasping the lessons taught, especially copying with the English language, she gradually picked up with the help of instructors.
During her stay at Vatsalya Bhavan BOSCO’s counselor could understand her behavioral problems which were a hindrance to her interpersonal relations and through many counseling sessions, the counselors helped her to come out of it. BOSCO staffs at the Vatsalya Bhavan accompanied Sumati in realizing her dream and stood with her in dealing with adversities.
It was in the month of June that her longtime dream was actualized. In the Job fair organized by Bosco in collaboration with Aircel and Empower Pragati, she was selected out of many candidates interviewed and was immediately appointed as voice call processer in a call centre at Wilson Garden, Bangalore. The flame that kindled in her at the grooming stage from the Vatsalya Bhavan showed the way to the life. Sumathi is all set to change her destiny forever. “I know nothing would have happened without the help of BOSCO. I am really proud of what I am today. I got a good job and am now earning good salary”, said Sumati with a deep smile that spreads her face with light.
BOSCO is also equally delighted in her achievements and wishes her all the success in all her future endeavors.