Learning from children on the move in four states in India
India and China have the largest number of migrants living abroad among Asian countries. However, both countries are also first and foremost characterised by large numbers of people moving within their borders. In India, children are highly represented among internal migrants, migrating not only with their parents and families, but also alone. Although they do not cross borders, children on the move in India are highly vulnerable. In the past in India, efforts have been made to reduce trafficking, especially of girls for sexual exploitation and abuse. Recently, more attention is paid to child labourer migrants and children that go missing in India every year, many of whom are also thought to be trafficked.
Terre des Hommes works with a network of 60 local NGOs and grassroots level civil society organisations to campaign for the protection of children on the move in 4 Indian states - West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Children on the move are regularly consulted and share their stories of mobility. Some children decided to make a CD with recordings of their stories and experiences of being on the move, so that other children could learn from their experiences.
They painted pictures and developed and recorded scripts to tell their stories. Through the stories, which were written in Bengali, Odiya and Telegu (local languages) and Hindi (national language) with English subtitles, the children spoke of their experiences, what made them leave home, and the risks they faced whilst being on the move.
The children also talked about services that can help and protect children on the move, such as a child helpline, the Village Level Child Protection Committee and various NGOs working with children in a given place. The CD has so far been shared with over 2,500 children in schools and child and youth clubs as a discussion starter. It has also been shared with NGOs and governmental institutions in the region.
The children who helped make this CD benefited from sharing their experiences, socialising with other children and young people and reflecting together on how they could better protect themselves in similar situations in the future. The CD helped raise awareness amongst other children about risks that can come with mobility, how to mitigate them, and where to ask for help and assistance.
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