Children’s Helpline Number 1098
Today’s Times of India has an article “Many offer help to educate Lakshmi”, about the nine year old girl who dreams to study in an english medium school. She had the courage to go to leave home, knock the doors of an English medium school and demand for her ‘right to education’. How many children have this ability? We see many children who beg, or girl children who are married and child labor is like a common thing. Yesterday someone commented on FB that instead of giving money to child we can call the child helpline number-1098. I called up that number and here is the information I got. I hope this helps everyone who reads this and if you have any more queries please comment on the blog I will surely find out and let you know.
Me: If we see any child begging what should we do?
Child Helpline: If you are sure that child comes to that place for begging daily, then you can give us the exact address and we can send our team there. We have teams in almost all the areas.
Me: what do you mean by “sure that child comes to that place daily”?
CH: Suppose you gave us some address, and when our team goes there and finds no one such, it will be trouble for us. We will feel someone is playing prank on us. It is better that you see the such kids and make sure that they beg there or around that place at some time. If we get the correct info we can work correctly. Few kids beg at same area and change the signals daily. If you get a correct idea that these kids are seen here almost every day, we will send our team.
Me: what action will be taken then?
CH: We will take the child for counseling. If the child has parents, we will also call them to counsel. We have many centres where the children can get shelter, food and education, and we will take proper measures.
Me: The child labours are usually working because they are the bread earners for family. I have met small girls who work for domestic help because their parents cant afford to give them shelter and food. So they leave them to work for some affluent people in exchange of shelter, food and some money.
CH: We will take such children and their parents for counseling and they can join their kids to our centre. We have many centres spread all over India. There are already so many kids who are staying there and being educated. We are in contact with many other NGOs who too will help us to guide the children. Anywhere you see child labour, whether it is hazardous or not, if the child is below fourteen it is a crime.
Me: If we report about child marriage how you people work? What if I assume that the girl is under 18 and call you?
CH: We will send our team to that place for investigation. Usually by seeing the girl/boy we can make out the age. Even you will have informed us because you thought the age is less than 18 for girl/ 21 for a boy. If we too cant understand, we will ask the documents from the parents. Necessary counseling will be given.
Me: We see many kids of the construction workers who are usually playing in mud. For such kids will education be provided? Can we report about them?
CH: Yeah you can. We have many filed workers for the children of construction workers. Their job will be to take care of children of the construction workers. Many such kids have been sent to centres or schools after interacting with the parents. So if you find such kids you can call us and we will inform field officers for that area.
Me: Do we need to provide our identity? Suppose I am informing you something, but I don’t want to disclose my identity. Is it ok?
CH: It is OK. It is better if you give us your identity and cooperate with us. But if you cant, you can just tell us the exact location. We will take action.
Me: Will there be any action taken for fake calls?
CH: If we take action against public, no one will report anything to us then. It is trouble for our team if it is a prank because we just believe what you informed and go to that place. If there is nothing such then we will feel bad about it.
Me: Can we also report if we see any child who may have run away from home or lost somewhere?
CH: yes. Please do report. We will surely help them out.
That was a long conversation. I may have missed out a few points. But these are the basic doubts I had. So, finally, ladies and gentlemen, if you see any
- Street children and youth living alone on the streets
- Child labourers working in the unorganised and organized sectors
- Domestic help, especially girl domestics
- Children affected by physical / sexual / emotional abuse in family, schools or institutions.
- Children who need emotional support and guidance
- Children of commercial sex workers
- Child victims of the flesh trade
- Victims of child trafficking
- Children abandoned by parents or guardians
- Missing children
- Run away children
- Children who are victims of substance abuse
- Differently-abled children
- 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
Please inform 1098. Hope to see atleast the places I roam to be ‘child problems free’. Once again, if you have any more queries, do post in the comment I will reply in a day, or even better, call up yourself to 1098 and let us know what answer you got.
http://www.childlineindia.org.in/index.htmThis is the link for 1098 helpline. You can check this out too.