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 www.worldvision.in 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.