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Today Date : Thursday, May 23, 2024

"CHILDLINE's Emotional Journey: Government Takeover Looms as Thousands of Rescued Children Find Hope

"CHILDLINE's Emotional Journey: Government Takeover Looms as Thousands of Rescued Children Find Hope

In the heart of Salem, CHILDLINE, a lifeline for defenseless children, has been a beacon of hope, rescuing and rehabilitating thousands of vulnerable children over the past 22 years. As the government prepares to take over the 1098 hotline service on August 1, emotions run high among its employees and the children they've saved.

One success story is that of Arpitha and Ramya, two orphans who faced rejection and abandonment after losing their parents. Thanks to CHILDLINE and the Don BoscoAnbuIllam, they found shelter, food, and education. Arpitha, now an M.Com graduate, has transformed into a housewife, while her sister is pursuing her studies.

However, not every story ends in triumph. An unnamed sick homeless girl, estimated to be around 14 years old, was discovered near the Salem bus stand. Suspected of sexual abuse and burdened with language barriers, she was initially resistant to assistance. Tragically, despite their best efforts, the girl passed away, leaving the CHILDLINE staff heartbroken.

Childline, a 24/7 free emergency helpline for children in distress, has been a listening ear to the silenced voices of innocence. From abuse and violence to child trafficking and missing cases, it has attended to a wide range of scenarios, rescuing and rehabilitating 14,541 children out of the 3,47,914 phone calls received over the years.

Rev. Dr. Casimir Raj SDB, Director of Don Bosco Anbu Illam, Salem, said,
Childline's efforts goes beyond answering calls. It sponsored camps
in areas with child labor and other difficulties, conducted awareness campaigns, and
empowered communities to protect children's rights.

At the national level, Childline has been an indispensable service, answering over 53.09 lakh calls and assisting/rescuing more than 3.95 lakh children since March 2020. The Ministry of Women Child Development's proposal to hand over Childline services to government departments has raised concerns among NGOs. They argue that the partnership between NGOs and the government is vital for the best interests of the children.

Uma Maheswari, District Child Protection Officer, Salem, emphasized the need for a smooth transition and the continued support of NGOs. She urged them to keep their doors open for help, as the children who need assistance would continue to seek refuge.