The girl child holds a special place for iThought as an organisation. Our past and present work echoes our sentiment on the same. Our future initiatives too will take into account the girl child and her rights.
In India the girl child is discriminated from the earliest stages of life, through her childhood and into adulthood. The reasons for this includes harmful attitudes and practices, such as female genital mutilation, son preference – which results in female infanticide and prenatal sex selection – early marriage, including child marriage, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, discrimination against girls in food allocation, health services, education specially higher education and other practices. As a result, fewer girls than boys survive into adulthood. Attitude towards girls are more or less the same in rural and urban settings. Girls suffer at the hands of the family and community because of patriarchal systems, cultural practices and failure of the governance system to protect their rights. Where social and customary norms confine the girls within a limited sphere, the state has miserably failed to break the clutches of such cultural practices and provide them avenues of growth and development.
The focus of Girl Child Rights Initiative is to address all girl child rights at the root of the problem and deal with issues such as the protection and promotion of their rights – right to education; right to life – good health, dignity, safety, privacy; right against exploitation which includes child marriage, child labour, trafficking and abuse of any kind, etc. For a year Independent Thought was associated with an organization on facilitating counseling services to adolescent and youth in one of the slums of Delhi. Work with respect to girl child rights is carried out in the form of conducting training, workshops, preparing IEC materials, reports, situational analysis and baseline studies.
One of the current projects under this initiative is the study on Adolescent Girl Child living in the Urban Slums of Delhi. This project is being conducted under the guidance of the Delhi Commission on the Protection of Child Rights. The project focuses on making a status report with recommendation on the protection, education, health and nutrition issues of adolescent girls from these slums and helping to create awareness among them and the various stakeholders involved.
Another project underway is the starting of a school programme at Nithari which will focus on the education of adolescent girls.