Save children, secure the future

Children across the globe are subjected to many harrowing issues. A look at how they can be nipped in the bud.

Children’s safety is the need of the hour. They face many problems and they need to be safeguarded. Here are some of the problems faced by today’s children.

MALNUTRITION

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 54% children in many developing countries suffer from malnutrition and are underweight because they cannot afford to be fed. UNICEF states that everyday 25,000 children die due to lack of food. Many children succumb to diseases that are curable but their parents lack the financial resources for treatment.

Impact

Malnutrition makes them susceptible to diseases later on in their lives, including chronic diseases and structural damage of the brain. It also causes stunted (extremely low height for age) growth. There are high chances that even their children will suffer the same fate.

Prevention

The government must take steps to lower the cost on children’s food supplies and health treatment. It can arrange free health food distribution, medical supplies and health check-ups for families that are not well-off.

CHILD ABUSE

Child abuse is when, a person causes injury, death or serious harm to children by maltreating, neglecting and physically or emotionally abusing them. In the U.S., every year, more that 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children, which means a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds. It is sad that many adults who witness child abuse simply ignore it and take no action to oppose it.

Impact

Abused children may grow to have several mental disorders and health issues. Many criminals and thieves are victims of child abuse.

Prevention

Parents should teach children how to safeguard themselves when they are on their own. They should provide a safe environment, listen to their children and be supportive. It is their responsibility to question any person who ill-treats a child and take necessary action against them. There are Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government services, which take necessary action against complaints of child abuse. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Child Line India can be contacted. A call to 1098 can protect an Indian child, any time of the day.

ILLITERACY

It is the inability to read or write. The primary cause for this problem is that parents cannot afford to send their children to school and instead send them out to work. This is widespread in many countries, including India, which, sadly, is home to the largest population of illiterate children — 287 million, which is 37% of the total world’s population.

Impact

Illiterate parents cannot get a well paying job and thereby are not able to send their children to school. Illiteracy in children can also lead to child labour, as parents send their children to work for money.

Prevention

Parents have to understand the value of education and educate their children. NGOs can create awareness about literacy.

SLAVERY AND CHILD LABOUR

One of the most wretched problems faced by children across the world is child labour. This means engaging children in an economic activity, on a part-time or full-time basis. Poverty is the primary reason for child labour. Another problem, which is affecting many children today, is slavery. Poverty-stricken parents often sell their children to traders for money and they in turn sell them to workers who use them as slaves.

Impact

This practice deprives children of their childhood, and impairs their physical and mental growth. It trains them to obey orders and not be firm, which affects their thinking ability. Many a time, the children end up in another country and they do not know the language nor understand what is being told to them. For this, he/she is beaten up and has no one to turn to and no way of returning home.

Prevention

The Government should take strict legal action against people who encourage child labour. Parents must be made aware of the evils of child labour.