Chennai: On the occasion of International Day for Street Children, Sri J. Srinivasa Rao, Chairperson, Telangana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights virtually launched a collaborative project for the children living in street situations, ‘Making #TheInvisibles Visible through Legal Identity in Hyderabad City’ in the presence of Latifa Shaikh, Child Champion from Mumbai, Sri. Aswin Lakshmanan, Director – Strategy & Planning, Verizon India and leaders from Save the Children including Sri Vikas Gora, Deputy Director (South Hub), Smt Prasanthi Bathina, Senior Manager (Telangana & Andhra Pradesh), Sri Avinash Singh, Head – Programme Management (urban), Sri. Manish Thakre, Head – Urban Programme and Policy and Smt Rupali Goswami, Communication & Campaign Manager (South).
Supported by Verizon India, an Information Technology driven Global Capability Centre (GCC), Save the Children has joined hands with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to ensure a life of dignity and respect for the Children in Street Situations (CiSS) in Hyderabad City — by ensuring a legal identity, and thereby access to their entitlements as rights. To begin with, the year-long project will ensure a legal identity document to over 5000 CiSS to enable them to be visible on the government records and avail schemes for which they are eligible for their overall well-being and future growth. The project brings in multiple stakeholders (State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, District Child Protection Unit, Department of Women and Child Welfare, Child Welfare Committees, State Juvenile Police Unit – Hyderabad Police and other civil society organisations) on a common platform to bring about a collective impact on these lives.
Speaking on the occasion, Sri J. Srinivasa Rao, Chairperson, Telangana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, “I appreciate Save the Children for taking up such initiative to work on the issues of children living in street situations. It has been one of our major areas of work, addressing the Issues of Children in Street situations. We need all the stakeholders to come together and address the issues holistically. I call for a detailed discussion on chalking out a plan of working together to promote and protect the rights of children in street situations. Giving an identity to them is an important beginning. I appreciate all the partners for coming together to make the launch a huge success. SCPCR will also be there to support not just 5000 children but every single child lives in street situations in Hyderabad.”
Highlighting the importance of this collaborative initiative, Sri Aswin Lakshmanan, Director – Strategy & Planning, Verizon India said, “We are happy to partner with Save the Children to provide a new lease of life to these homeless and underprivileged
children through a legal identity as citizens of our country. Driven by our purpose of moving the world forward together, we at Verizon work closely with the communities around us to enable economic, environmental and social advancement. With this initiative, we aim to provide a robust support system for the street children by ensuring access to basic facilities, empowering them with information and awareness on their rights and entitlements and helping them lead their life with dignity and respect.”
Smt Prasanthi Bathina, Senior Manager (Telangana & Andhra Pradesh) added, “For too long, children in street situations have been deprived of their basic rights due to the lack of legal identity. Save the Children has been working on this issue for over a decade now. We have successfully supported 2 lakh children in four states of India with a legal identity and connected them with various social security schemes. I am glad that we could expand our areas of expertise to Hyderabad city. We thank our funding partner Verizon for their timely support for this urgent initiative given the increased challenges faced by these most vulnerable children and their families during the pandemic.”