Children are the most vulnerable lot. Whether it is health and nutrition, ravages of war and strife or even natural calamities, it is they who always seem to bear the brunt of adverse situations the most. Given this scenario, different countries have framed their own guidelines to protect the child from harm. There are international organisations as well that are doing yeomen service for children.
Here are some of the leading agencies that are contributing their mite for the protection of children.
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is the top children’s welfare organisation with footprint in over 190 countries. The body was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December 1946 to provide relief and emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by the effects of the Second World War. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations network and the words “International” and “Emergency” were dropped from the name, simply becoming United Nations Children’s Fund. The acronym UNICEF was however retained.
In 1950, the original mandate of UNICEF was extended to include long-term needs of children and women in developing countries.
Funds for UNICEF flows in mainly (about two-thirds) from Governments with individuals and private groups and organisations contributing the rest through national committees.
Of these resources, it is estimated that 92% is distributed for programmes that focus on community level services for the upliftment of health and well-being of children.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to UNICEF in 1965 and the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006.
International Forum for Child Welfare (IFCW) – The mission of IFCW is to work towards improving the quality of lives of children and develop their full potential even under adverse circumstances. The process is based on strengthening the work and structure of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that are primarily dedicated to improving the lot of children.
The goals and objectives of IFCW are –
To create awareness about well-being of children
To liaise with other bodies with similar goals
To conduct seminars and conferences to improve awareness
IFCW was founded in Haikko, Finland in June 1989 after 38 national child welfare NGOs representing 300 child welfare NGOs in their respective countries spread over 6 continents got together to work towards alleviating the plight of children.
ChilOut Australia – Children Out of Detention, a child welfare body in Australia is opposed to the mandatory detention of children in immigration detention centres in Australia. ChilOut was formed in 2001in line with the policies of the then Howard Government regarding asylum seekers in Australia. One of the primary goals of the organisation was to change the Migration Act 1958 and have families and children of those under mandatory and indefinite immigration detention released as soon as possible.
ClhilOut won the Community Organisation Award at the 2005 Human Rights Award.
There are hundreds of such organisations around the world devoted exclusively for betterment of deprived children.