Jana Pawura aims to prevent child abuse | Daily News


World Children’s Day

Jana Pawura aims to prevent child abuse

Women and Child Affairs Minister Chandrani Bandara spoke to the Daily News on the occasion of World Children’s Day which falls tomorrow (October 1).

Q: Could you explain the programmes for the benefit of children being implemented under the Women and Child Affairs Ministry?

A: We have submitted the draft national policy on early childhood in collaboration with the Education, Health, Local Government and Provincial Councils, and Finance Ministries to the President and the Cabinet for approval.

We have implemented a programme to provide a glass of fresh milk to each pre-school child and a special diet for those children prone to malnutrition. Also, we are providing a nutrition allowance worth Rs. 2,000 per month for 10 months for pregnant women.

Q: What is the present situation relating to the day care centres’ programme?

A: A national-level policy for day care centres is being drafted for ensuring standards of such institutions. We are progressively opening 2,000 day care centres across the country with the contribution of the private sector, for the benefit of the mother and child. We offer a loan facility amounting to Rs. 3.5 million to the private sector as an incentive for their contribution and participation in the programme.

Q: What are the main targets expected to be achieved in future?

A: We are planning further programmes to ensure the rights of the child and look into the problem of street children and end violence on children. Also, we have a programme to ensure the rights of the children in orphanages. There are around 15,000 children in orphanages facilitated by us. We plan to provide vocational training to children over 14, in addition to school education, under the auspices of the Vocational Training Ministry.

Also, the Ministry has focused attention on upgrading the rights of the child and promoting community-based child insurance in the country’s estate sector.

Q: What is the progress of Jana Pawura programme?

A: Jana Pawura is a concept of the Ministry which came into effect last year. It was inaugurated in the Kurunegala district and is being extended from district to district. The main objective of the programme is to focus attention of the civil community at village, divisional district, provincial and national level through various organisations such as youth forums, thrift societies, conciliation boards, women’s societies, and rural development societies, to be on alert for the protection and safety of children round the clock, as an integrated body similar to a human wall.

Our aim is to create a civil society force of a minimum of 80,000 members. The National Child Protection Authority coordinates this programme. Grassroots-level state employees such as grama niladari child protection officers, probation officers, and family health officers too are closely associated with the Jana Pawura programme.

Jana Pawura is a private–public volunteer organisation to address child abuse and violence on children at the grassroots level.

Q: What is the Ministry’s role regarding early childhood education?

A: The draft early childhood national policy put forward for Cabinet approval proposes a regulatory process to upgrade and standardise pre-school education. The World Bank has offered financial assistance worth US$ 50mn for the development of pre-school education.

Q: What is your message for World Children’s Day?

A: In any country, children are undoubtedly precious since they are the future. We have been signatories to several international treaties and conventions on children such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and as a follow-up to the UNCRC, we formulated the Children’s Charter in 1992 and formed the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs for implementing policies and legislation concerning children. Therefore, let us work together towards building a society free of abuse, injustice and violence towards our children, the future generation of the nation.

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