*All images by UNICEF
UNICEF is celebrating its 70th anniversary in India and 30 years of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) this year. On this occasion, a programme was organized inside Rajbhawan in Ranchi where child rights champions were celebrated by Droupadi Murmu, Governor of Jharkhand & Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India.
Speaking on the occasion, Murmu, said,
“I congratulate UNICEF on completing 70 years in India. I commend their work in protecting and promoting the rights of every child in Jharkhand and in India. In Jharkhand, UNICEF has supported the State government in its efforts to reduce infant & maternal mortality, increase immunization coverage &achieving the Swachh Bharat Mission goals.
We have achieved much but there are miles to go before we rest. We are working to ensure that every child is in school and Jharkhand is child-marriage free. The Mukhya Mantri Sukanya Yojana launched by the Government last year is a step in that direction. I call on each and every one of you gathered here to support this noble cause.”
Dr Haque said,
“In 70 years of UNICEF presence in India, significant progress has been made in addressing issues faced by children, particularly in the areas of child protection, nutrition, health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene and disaster risk reduction. As a global advocate for the rights of every child, UNICEF remains committed, as has been for over past 70 years in India, to continue to improve the status of “every child” in the country, including those who are disadvantaged and excluded.”
“Jharkhand has made rapid strides towards improving the lives of millions of children and women under the dynamic leadership of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, MrRaghubar Das.
Child marriage has decreased in the State from 63% to 38%, similarly, Infant mortality rate has reduced from 34 to 29 per 1000 births, largely due to investments in 19 new Special Care Newborn Units. Child budgeting has been introduced investing Rupees 6417 Cr for children, which exhibits State’s commitment to child welfare and child protection.
Apart from that approx. 10,000 PoshanSakhis have been recruited in 6 High burden districts for Under-nutrition. Over 2200 Schools in Jharkhand are now in the 4 and 5 star category as per Swachh Vidyalaya Purskar national ranking. Gender parity index at the elementary level is 1.03, which indicates the almost equal number of girls and boys are attending schools. Improved WASH facilities, focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management has pushed up the enrolment of girls.”
Dr Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Jharkhand said,
“This has been a memorable journey for the UNICEF. I call on children and young people, members of the community, BDOs, PRI members & faith leaders to support the fight against social evils like child marriages and child labour. We must ensure every child is in school and has access to all social protection services.”
On this occasion, UNICEF Child Reporter Sapna Kumari, 14 years, narrated how she had taken steps to stop her own child marriage having learnt about child rights and the importance of education for every child as part of the Child Reporters programme in her school.