Children at High Risk

The Children at High Risk Programme (the CAHR Programme) focuses on children who face a multitude of problems, especially the violation of their basic rights. While the Community Focused Child Development Programme focuses on the community, the CAHR Programme is focused on children who fall under particular categories and who face difficulties due to being part of vulnerable segments of society. The CAHR Programme aims at promoting and maintaining child rights which are often abused in the sub-culture of these categories. Furthermore, Holistic Child Development India and its implementing partners work towards the empowerment of children and their rehabilitation where necessary, to ensure that their rights are not exploited.

The CAHR Programme of HCDI focuses on children that fall within the following categories:

  • Children below the poverty line

    This category includes children whose families live below the poverty line. Problems faced by these children often include malnutrition, lack of education, and being forced into child labour or even trafficking.

  • The Girl Child

    This category includes the girl children of families that live in abject poverty and adverse conditions. As girls, these children are often burdened with the responsibility of taking care of the house and younger siblings. This leads to them being forced to give up their education and their childhood. Other difficulties they often face include being pushed into prostitution, child marriage, trafficking, rape, and other criminal offences against which they remain helpless.

  • Children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS

    This category covers children who have HIV/AIDS or whose parents have HIV/AIDS. Children infected by HIV are often shunned due to a general lack of knowledge about the virus. They are forced into solitude where they cannot pursue their education or into not obtaining a fulfilling childhood with other children. In cases where children are not infected but are their parents have HIV/AIDS, children are often left to take care of their families and younger siblings. In addition, the children are often considered taboo and a danger to others. All these children, as a result of the lack of knowledge, live in an environment that robs them of their basic rights and forces them to face multiple hardships for no fault of their own.

  • Children who are victims of trafficking, and children of mothers who are prostitutes or victims of trafficking

    Children who are forced into trafficking for labour or prostitution lose the essence of their childhood due to their circumstances. As a victim of trafficking, they are rarely able to free themselves and soon fall into the profession thrust upon them due to the lack of options and acceptance. Children of women who are prostitutes or victims of trafficking are faced with difficulties similar to those affected by HIV. These children are often looked down upon and lose their right to a good childhood due to their circumstances which are nearly impossible to alter.

  • Street and working children

    Families who live in abject poverty often require that the children work to supplement their parents’ financial incomes. When children are forced into manual labour or into activities like begging, picking trash, or other street based activities, they lose their right to education, freedom, and lack of responsibility. Furthermore, they are often subjected to malnutrition as a result of their poverty. These children, therefore, are robbed of their basic rights and often burdened with the responsibilities of an adult when they are extremely young.

  • Differently abled children

    There are many children who are born differently challenged. These children are often excluded from activities in which other children are involved, and are sometimes even treated as burdens due to their inability to add to the household income or assist in many other ways. These children lose their basic rights to a secure, safe, and happy environment due to the severe discrimination against them, and are unable to obtain a fulfilling childhood.

Methodology

The CAHR Programme focuses on the many methods through which a child that comes within any of its marked categories is given greater opportunity to live in a holistic environment. One part of this includes rehabilitation and empowerment, where children are provided education, proper food, medical attention, and psychological care. Through the rehabilitation and empowerment activities, children are eased of the responsibility that otherwise holds them back and parents are relieved of the financial concerns that normally drive them to place responsibilities on their children.

Another aspect of the CAHR Programme, one which is gaining greater importance, is the advocacy for the promotion, and protection of child rights. Through its work in the field and with the groups that are covered by the CAHR Programme, HCDI has realised that a major problem which leads to the exploitation of child rights is the lack of knowledge of those very rights. Children and their parents remain unaware of their moral and ethical advantages and responsibilities, thereby putting great burden on children who may not be prepared for such duty. As a result, a majority of the projects under the CAHR Programme are focused on raising awareness about the issues of child labour, child trafficking, women trafficking, and the concept of Children’s Parliaments among others. It is through this increased awareness and growing advocacy that HCDI expects to bring about actual and continued change in the lives of children that fall under the identified categories.

The CAHR Programme implements, follows, and supports its many projects in selected regions with the aid of the implementing partners of HCDI. This includes supporting the movement for a safe childhood through action research and documentation, based on which strategies are further formed and implemented. The many efforts of the CAHR Programme of HCDI are all focused on bringing children who are physically, financially, socially, and emotionally disadvantaged into the mainstream so that their basic rights to a good childhood, education, food, and a holistic environment for growth can be protected and promoted throughout the country.