How long this dire situation will last

Prothom Alo illustration

We are waiting for a day when boys and girls will be seen equal and there will be no disparity.

It is necessary to ensure basic rights of children, such as food, clothes, accommodation, education and health, to make them good citizens, but we cannot do it even after 50 years of independence. Millions of children are subject to forced labour because of poverty. Many people also used these children in various criminal acts in their individual and group interests. If any child gets involved in criminal activities willingly or at the provocation of any other person, it is the responsibility of the state and the society to bring them back on the right path. That is why any child getting involved criminal activities is sent to a correction centre, what is the government names as child development centre.

The question is what role has these child development centres played for the development of children and juvenile. Do the centres have the healthy and decent environment requiring for mental development of children? Many times, children and juveniles living in these development centres are allegedly tortured. Even several children were tortured to death at a child development centre in Jashore.

A scenario of these child development centres was presented at a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on ministry of social welfare on Thursday and that is very frustrating. There are 909 children against a capacity of 300 seats at Tongi child development centre, 353 children against a capacity of 150 seats at Pulerhat child development centre in Jashoer and 89 children against a capacity of 150 children at the girls development centre in Konabari, Gazipur. Chairman of the committee Rashed Khan Menon currently, these child development centres accommodate children more than their capacity and they recommended setting up several more child development centres. The committee also recommended increasing allocation for daily meal at the ‘Child Development Centre’ operated by the Department of Social Services.

There are economic and social reasons behind involvement of children in crime. Many children grow up with parents’ care; many get involved in various crimes due to bad company. It is necessary to create a humanitarian and loving environment for those children who come to child development centres. Those who are responsible for taking care of children at these centres must show affection and kindness. Besides, environment that is conductive for the mental growth of children must be created at these child development centres.

The parliamentary committee believes it is necessary to set up more child development centres, though it will take time. This is why an environment conducive for children must be ensured at the two centres above mentioned by its increasing infrastructure and manpower as long as no new centres opens. Officials and employees of these centres must keep in mind that these children live far from their parents and relatives. These children must be taken care of with love and affection; they should be kept involved in sports and and creative activities so that their life can be happy and good.