NO ONE HAS BECOME POOR BY GIVING
- Anne Frank
ITS NOT HOW MUCH WE GIVE BUT HOW MUCH LOVE WE PUT IN TO GIVING
- Mother Teresa
All women and children have the basic rights to dignity, self determination and the opportunity and choice to enhance their potential and well-being. So AIMS works with women and children to create awareness and safety.
Children constitute a large part of the population in India. They are vulnerable to harms like abuse, violence, trafficking etc. In India, the marginalization and developmental settings put this population at a disadvantage. The impact of these problems on the children can be physical, mental, emotional and social. These damages can be either permanent or temporary, based on the factors related to the issue.
To ensure their protection many policy and legal interventions were made throughout the years and the central government has adopted a rights based approach towards achieving this goal. This rights based approach looks at safety and protection as basic rights of children and makes the State responsible for providing these. Articles 39(e) and 39(f) of the Indian Constitution are important in this context and they persuade the state to ensure their safety as they are vulnerable citizens of the country. Article 23 prohibits human trafficking and this extends to the child population and Article 24 protects children under 14 years working in any hazardous occupation or industry. Article 20, CRC mandates that children deprived of family environment should be given alternate family care like foster care or institutional placement.
Childline 1098 is another initiative to ensure child safety under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. It is a 24-hour, toll free, phone outreach service available all over India.
Safety and protection for children are their fundamental rights, and children with disabilities, street children, child commercial sex workers, child laborers, etc., need special attention. AIMS works in providing children with their rights and establishing justice for the affected through its programs.
When a child or an adolescent is forced into a sexual situation, there is sexual abuse. It is challenging to identify these cases, as most of them are not reported. The event's disclosure is very rare, and sometimes the disclosure happens only when a change in behavior or a physical complaint is observed.
The POCSO Act is a law in which the children who are sexually assaulted, harassed, and involved in pornography are protected. Child-friendly mechanisms like special courts, special prosecutors, and support persons for the victim are used to treat the cases.
According to NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau) data (2018),32,608 cases were reported in 2017, and 39,827 cases were reported in 2018 under the POCSO act. The report conveys the following:
On the other hand, it is noted that the Childline for children in distress has recorded 92,105 calls, which are on child abuse and violence.
AIMS, as an NGO, extend our wings in helping the children suffering from sexual abuse. SCAR is a program that AIMS have undertaken to deal with child abuse and rape cases.
A ABUSE and
Most of the crimes against children in Tamil Nadu are sexual in nature. The number of sexual offenses against children have increased by a frightening 18% in 2017-2018 (2018, NCRB). This increase is nearly double the national average (9.9%). Still these cases only cover the reported ones. In 2019, 4,155 offenses against children were reported in the state. This accounts for 3% of the reported child abuse cases in the country. The state has also an unflattering number of cases of procuring minor girls. Around 148 such cases were reported in the state in 2018. The toll free number for child helpline is 1098.
It is in this context that AIMS endeavours to develop a Child Crisis Centre with the intention of providing holistic relief to not just the victims but also their families. From the reports mentioned above its evident that sexual abuse of children is prevalent and unnervingly increasing in the country. Although our organisation attempts to bring justice to the victims through legal procedures, we want to broaden our services to the victims by being there for them, with them, in their long journey towards physical as well as mental healing.
Childhood sexual abuse can be detrimental to the psychological well being of the victim, being a major risk factor for depression, guilt, shame, self-blame, eating disorders, somatic concerns, anxiety, dissociative patterns, repression, denial, sexual problems, and relationship problems (American Counselling Association). AIMS thus seeks to collaborate with registered psychologists and doctors to provide counselling and other apt treatment to the victims and their families. We believe that psychological intervention for each person varies according to the individual and we strive to give them maximum support throughout the process.
Education should be an essential part of every child's life. In the modern era, education opens the door to the world outside and provides them opportunities for a better life. Education can reduce the chance of poverty through enabling one for possible employment, it can promote health, close gender gap, minimize malnutrition, and foster a nation’s economic growth. Not receiving an appropriate education can lead to a lack of representation, unemployment and promote exploitation and child marriage. Some of the reasons for school children to drop out includes poor economic background, poor health and child labour.
According to the data, the literacy rate in India is 77.7% (urban 87.7% and rural 73.5%). The literacy rate of Tamil Nadu is 80.1% (in rural 73.5% and in urban 87%) there is 6.6% increase in the literacy rate from the past. In the academic year 2016-17, dropout rate of children in secondary school category was 27.6%. In Tamil Nadu it was noted that the dropout rate, which stood at 8% in 2015- 2016 was 16.2% in 2017-18(Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE)). The state had fallen by 0.8%, 29,740 of 30,104 students who had dropped out had been re-enrolled.
AIMS tries to tackle the issue by giving scholarships to underprivileged, rural students who cannot afford the increasing costs of school and higher education. We also have virtually adopted some children and take care of the educational, financial, physical as well as the psychological (through counselling) well being of these children. AIMS has taken up another scheme for providing yearly scholarship for children who cannot afford education through our STEPS program.
STEPS (SHAPING TOMORROW EDUCATION PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP)
STEPS aims to provide scholarships to underprivileged and rural students who cannot afford the increasing school and higher education costs. This program provides tuition fee, hostel fee, and transportation costs for the students in need. STEPS also include add-on courses for the students who are interested apart from school or college education. A maximum of 65% of the fee will be paid or up to INR 20,000 per student.
Measures to ensure women's safety involves strategies, practices and policies which aim to reduce gender-based violence. Women's safety involves freedom from violence, harassment and discrimination. Removing the hurdle of an unsafe environment can help women fulfil their potential as individuals and as contributors to work, communities and economies. The World Health Organization states that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced physical/sexual violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Violence and discrimination can be a blight on women's lives and have held them back from participating to the fullest in the workplace, society and the economy.
In India 53.9% of the crimes committed are against women. About 36.1% of rural women have experienced physical violence in their adult lives and 66% of women have experienced physical violence in their lifetimes are divorced, widowed, or deserted. The highest level of physical abuse is experienced by the lower caste and tribal women. About 85.3% of women who have reported violence claim that their husbands are the perpetrators.
In Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister launched a helpline initiative for women. Women who are facing domestic violence and sexual harassment at home/workplaces can contact the toll-free helpline 181, to get assistance ranging from police help, legal aid or medical services including an ambulance. National commission helpline number for women is 011-26944771 and state commission helpline numbers are 044-28592750 and 044-28551155. Toll free number for women is 1091.
We are taking actions to protect women's rights and ensure a safe space for them in communities. AIMS helps the women who have been victims of abuse in various situations by giving them legal aid and counselling. AIMS has rescued an Indian housemaid from Kuwait who has been tortured mentally and physically by the employer. We also rescued another woman from Muscat who was sexually exploited by her employer. AIMS also helped a Lithuanian woman to get justice from a man from Chennai who misused her and then refused to do right by her.
43% of currently married women are employed as compared to 99% of men, according to the most recent Demographic and Health Survey analysis. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecasts that equal participation of women in the workforce will increase India’s GDP by 27%. More than half of India's women don't possess cell phones, and 80% don't use them to connect them to the internet.
AIMS supports women by giving awareness classes, guidance for the individuals who have troubles in their life and are searching forward for a positive change to set them on the right course. AIMS extends monetary assistance to the individuals who are deprived of basic needs. AIMS plans to connect with government offices and make awareness about accessible government plans for women. AIMS is helping single/underprivileged women to start their own small scale businesses.