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COIMBATORE: They too want to be heard during the Assembly elections even though they have not attained the voting age.
Orphaned, physically challenged and mentally ill children from 36 orphanages and homes have drafted a memorandum to be included in the election manifestoes of various political parties. The five-page memorandum sought remedies to the various difficulties that children faced in their everyday lives at parental homes, schools and in public places. The existing laws did not ensure that children enjoyed proper education, security, medical facilities, hygiene. The answer to all these will be to establish a Ministry for Children.
Other suggestions included shifting of liquor shops located in the vicinity of schools, separate bus for school students, setting up of a Government-run home for the mentally ill children, and holding a children's grievances redress day once a month at the Collectorate.
Prepared after much deliberation, the memorandum was handed over to heads of seven parties in Coimbatore.
Brainstorming sessions were held in orphanages and the suggestions were consolidated by the Coimbatore District Children and Children's Organisations' Network at the Don Bosco Anbu Illam. The organisation is a wing of the ChildLine. According to Fr. U. Santhanam, Director of the Illam, the children were given a free hand in coming up with the recommendations.
“It is purely based on their everyday experience and observation. They see children come to school in crowded buses, not being provided safe environment at home, school or during travel to school. All this have found a mention in the memorandum,” he says.
Children aged between 12 and 18 worked on the recommendations. They say they received a positive response from various political leaders.
What comes across as unique in the whole exercise is that orphan children who did not live in normal parental homes have taken the effort to observe and come up with recommendations that address the problems of those who come from such homes.
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