WHAT IS CHILDLINE
Ten-Nine-Eight. One afternoon, a concerned citizen called
this number to report a 13-year old mentally challenged boy on the street. The boy, Ganpat
was lying with open wounds on his legs that were infested with maggots.
Ten-Nine-Eight. The call was taken and a team rushed to the
boy. He was admitted to a hospital and supported through three surgeries. He recovered
enough to walk on crutches and is now studying in a special school.
10-9-8. The countdown to a better life for the street child
or CHILDLINE - Indias first 24-hour, free, emergency phone service for children. It
has, since its inception five years ago, taken over 10 lakh such calls and made a
difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of children all over the country.
Set up in Mumbai on June 20, 1996, CHILDLINE is for
children in need anytime and anywhere. It intervenes in case of sickness, death and abuse
of children, runaways and child labour, always focusing on the marginalised child. After
the initial crisis intervention, it links these children to long term services.
Initiated by the Ministry of Social Justice and
Empowerment, CHILDLINE is a unique example of co-operation between government and non
government agencies. It is a partnership between the Government of India, UNICEF,
Department of Telecommunications, street and community youth, NGOs, academic institutions,
the corporate sector and concerned individuals.
The nodal agency CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF)
undertakes development, networking and facilitation, training, research and documentation
and awareness and advocacy at the national and international level. Most important, it
ensures that help for the street child is always a phone call away.
WHO DOES CHILDLINE REACH OUT TO
CHILDLINE reaches out to all children in need of care and
protection which includes:
- street children
- child labourers
- children who have been abused
- child victims of the flesh trade
- differently-abled children
- child addicts
- children in conflict with the law
- children in institutions
- mentally challenged children
- HIV / AIDS infected children
- children affected by conflict and disaster
- child political refugees
- children whose families are in crises.
WHY DO CHILDREN / CONCERNED ADULTS
Children call for a variety of reasons ranging from seeking
directly for help to just sharing their problem with someone. Sometimes children have
called just to talk to someone who has the time to listen to them. This is a reinforcement
of their feeling that there is someone who cares and who is always there for them when in
need. For lakhs of these children 1098 is a number that they can call as their very own
where they are reassured that there will always be somebody to look after their needs.
- medical assistance
- missing children
- protection from abuse
- emotional support and guidance
- information about CHILDLINE
- silent calls
- chat calls
WHY THE NEED FOR A CHILDLINE
The need for such a service came as a response to the
streets. A large number of children on the streets were denied access to basic rights.
There were a large number of services provided for children that went largely untapped
while there were large number of children on the street who were un-reached. Additionally,
there were very few services for certain groups of children such as girl children,
children with disability and children with mental illness. The initiative hoped to address
the needs of these un-reached children, estimated by UNICEF to be around 800,000 children
in urban India alone who need special care and protection. The CHILDLINE service seeks to
provide a mechanism to reach out to these un-reached children.