Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire’s 8 Oscars Should Translate into Action for Children in India

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Monday, February 23, 2009 -- (Business Wire India)

“Don’t just be entertained; do something,” World Vision India urges moviegoers as Oscars pile up and India celebrates.As Slumdog Millionaire, a movie depicting the challenges of ‘street children’ in India wins 8 Oscars today causing widespread jubilation around the country, World Vision India is calling for action that ensures children like Jamal, Salim and Latika are protected, educated and cared for.“While the film does a good job depicting the realities of slum life to a large extent, there are many more challenges these children are up against,” said Dr. Jayakumar Christian, National Director World Vision India. “Moviegoers should realize that poverty in India is a clear and present challenge for children in India —but there are tangible ways people can make a difference.”According to the agency, which has worked in India for 50 years, the following key issues facing impoverished children in India need urgent action against;-- Malnutrition: Recent government and civil society reports have pointed to the dismal state of child nutrition and survival in India. World Bank report estimates that malnutrition costs us $10 billion every year in terms of lost productivity. World Vision firmly believes that if we do not invest in children, poverty will never be history. World Vision’s call for proper implementation and allocation of appropriate funds will ensure that every child has nutrition security.-- HIV and AIDS: Statistics show that HIV prevalence in India has halved. However, the issues facing children are grim. These are children who are taking up the mantle of heading households at a tender age. These are the children who have poor access to health care or antiretrovirals. These children have the challenges of access to schools and health care and sometime even property rights. A comprehensive HIV and AIDS Act that addresses there challenges with a special focus on children is the need of the hour.-- Child Labour: According to the Census 2001, poverty has trapped over 12.59 million children in labour in India. Girl children are more vulnerable. World Vision believes that every child who is not in school is a sure candidate for child labour. The promise of compulsory education for girls and boys up to the primary level is the first step to keeping children out of child labour. We advocate the need for an extension of this benefit to the secondary level, with a special focus on girls. -- Education: Of all development interventions, education is known to be the most effective contributing to the transformation of communities, the next generation and breaking the inevitable cycle of poverty. Focusing on education, especially of girls works every time. More than 50 per cent of girls fail to enroll in school; those that do are likely to drop out by the age of 12. One of two Indian girls aged 6-18 has never stepped into a school. This is true in many of the over 5000 communities that we work in. This definitely underlines the need to enact the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill and also allocate 6% of the country’s GDP towards education.-- Protection: India’s child abuse report released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development department found that two in three of the over 12,000 children surveyed in 13 states across the country, have suffered some form of abuse. More than half of the children surveyed reported having been sexually abused. Speedy implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Services so that children grow up without fear is the urgent need.-- Natural disasters and climate change: Monsoon rains and flooding take lives but also destroy agricultural crops, which some 70 percent of Indians depend on to earn a living. A recent World Vision report warned of further steps needed to protect coastal communities in India its neighbors. Strengthening the response of communities to disasters through a strong approach of disaster preparedness and risk reduction is urgently needed in disaster prone areas.World Vision works in close to 50 slums like Dharavi, depicted in Slumdog Millionaire, as well as communities across the country, assisting street children, people living with HIV and AIDS, child labourers, migrants and families in need of clean water, sanitation, education and economic opportunities. “World Vision can attest to the fact that children have an amazing ability to overcome their circumstances, just like Slumdog Millionaire shows,” Dr. Jayakumar said, “and we’re asking people to partner with the children of India so that breaking out of poverty doesn’t have to be a one-in-a-million miracle.”
The public can donate or learn more by visiting About World Vision IndiaWorld Vision India is a Christian humanitarian organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities living in poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, caste, race, ethnicity or gender. Spread over 150 locations in India, World Vision works through long-term sustainable community development programmes and immediate disaster relief assistance.Focus on Children: All development work we carry out is focused on building the community around children so that they have the opportunity to reach for a better future. Grass root Based: World Vision’s relief and development is community based. Our staff live with the communities at the grass roots, living with them, learning from them and working along with them to find solutions to issues of poverty.Partnering for Change: We partner with the people in their development, work with the Government and civil society to usher in a better and brighter future for India.World Vision has responded to every major disaster in India in the last few decades including the recent tsunami, Kashmir earthquake and the recent floods in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa and Assam. World Vision India is also member of the Planning Commission working group on women and child development and the NGO steering committee of the National Disaster Management Authority.
For press backgrounder on World Vision India click hereMedia contact details Joy Christina. R, Manager - Media Relations,World Vision India,+91 (044) 24807064 / +919840798734,

A Roadmap to End Global Hunger

Two years ago a coalition of humanitarian organizations began the process that has resulted in today's release of the Roadmap To End Global Hunger.
Today, representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and the Humanitarian Coalition came together to release the Roadmap to End Global Hunger. [pdf] The humanitarian organizations involved are Bread for the World, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, the Congressional Hunger Center, Friends of the World Food Program, Mercy Corps, Save the Children and World Vision. ''The United States needs a new strategy. Instead of playing defense, trying to lessen the impact of an individual crisis, we need to strengthen our offense and root out the underlying causes of hunger. The Roadmap is the right game plan at the right time to make this happen,'' says Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, an internationally recognized expert on health, development and humanitarian issues. ''CARE favors humanitarian policies and practices that save lives and at the same time, help break the cycle of chronic poverty and hunger. One way to achieve this is by shifting to local purchase and cash transfers. These practices not only help feed the hungry, they also stimulate agricultural development and trade,'' says David Kauck, CARE senior technical advisor and an expert on food security issues.' The Coalition and Congress members are seeking to address a growing economic crisis that threatens to destroy the health and nutrition of millions of families worldwide. "Hunger is a tremendous problem, and it is not enough for our response to conditions of malnutrition, starvation and poverty to simply be well-intentioned. We must construct a complete response to hunger and script wide-ranging and proven-effective strategies. This Roadmap is a positive step that establishes commonsense waypoints so we can measure success at alleviating hunger and set good goals for the future. I'm glad to have Representative Jim McGovern and other colleagues by my side in the U.S. Congress who continue to work to raise the profile of this critical issue and implement solutions," said Emerson. The bipartisan legislation is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks and it is anticipated to incorporate key recommendations of the Roadmap to End Global Hunger campaign. The Roadmap to End Global Hunger and the legislation will set forth a comprehensive and strategic plan that addresses world hunger in the short, intermediate and long term. The intent is to increase funding for key interventions needed to alleviate global hunger and ensure better coordination among existing U.S. government programs.