Thoubal: For the first time, NFI Field Office Thoubal supported by NFI New Delhi and European Union in collaboration with IRDSO and Childline Thoubal observed International Day of the Girl Child at IRDSO Complex, Wangiing.
Giving her key note address, Nonibala Narengbam, Field in Charge, NFI Field office Thoubal mentioned that the observance provides more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequalities faced by girls which includes access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage.
She continued that the observance is also related to the SDGs Goal 5 “Gender Equality”. She urged the parents and family members that it is time for us to stop using girls in the unorganized household work sectors and why not our sons to help out teach.
M. Reena Chanu, Legal cum Probation Officer, Thoubal attended as resource person and gave her speech on the topic “Impacts of harmful practices of early and forced marriage”. She said women are forced to get married and child marriage is a rising issues and we need to act now to stop it. She also mentioned about elopement and how girl under 18 and boy under 21 are engage in elopement without being aware of the legal prohibition of child marriage and the negative outcomes of early marriage. As she mentioned early marriage leads to many health problems, it creates mental problems for the bride as she cannot afford to handle the responsibilities of a family burden. We all are responsible and should come together to end early, child and forced marriage. She said “education is a resource of every empowerment”.
Mayengbam Ranjeeta Devi, Sub-Divisional Officer, Thoubal continued the programme with the topic “Safety and Security of Girl Child”. She said that inequality starts from the household and this has made the mindset of girls and women that men are superior to women and this should be changed from parenting itself if we want to be a gender-neutral society.
She said that elders are the one that has led girls to feel inferior for not being a man as they keep giving negative remarks and don’t fit the societal norms when the girls do something that they feel don’t belong to girls. She mentioned that victim blaming is a serious issue and we should change our mindset first and talk more about what values or ideas we should give to our sons. Ranjeeta said, “There arises questions of safety of girls if we don’t balance the gender inequality”.
Babita Sapam, Chief Functionary, Rural Voluntary Services gave her speech on the topic “Services for combating trafficking and sexual exploitation. She said that there are three types of trafficking – sex trafficking, trafficking for labour and trafficking for illegal marriage and said that Manipur is also facing a great issues of human trafficking.
She also shared some live issues or events of human trafficking and how they are rescued, sheltered and treated for mental trauma. She said that children as lured for trafficking by creating a false illustration to the parents that they will be given education in auspicious schools in other countries and youth are lured with job offers and sometimes, some of the victims of trafficking didn’t believe that they are being trafficked and blamed the rescuer instead.
She also shared the statistics of trafficking throughout the world, 48.5 million persons are trafficked globally out of which 10 million are children, 15.4 million are found under forced marriage and 4.8 million are used for sexual exploitation.
A.Seitapati Devi, Sub Inspector, Women Police Station, Thoubal was the fourth speaker of the day and she spoke on the topic “Safety Measures of Girls from Advance Technology – Cyber Crime”. She said that India has been observing Girl Child Day from January 24, 2008 by the Ministry of Women and Development. She emphasizes on the importance of parenting of children by parents and how it has changed due to new technology and development of new devices. She talked on the misuse of mobile phones by parents in raising children and how this has caused a major problem of mobile phone addiction of children.
The pandemic has also increased the usage of mobile phones, PCs and social media by children. She said parents should start the management to eradicate the excess use of mobile and social media. She said one of the leading factors of cyber crime is excess uploading of photos and videos in the social media platform; this could lead to being a target by hackers and predators. She also talked on cyber stalking and bullying and said it should be reported immediately, reporting at the right time is essential.
She mentioned some types of cyber crimes such as identity thief, ransom, pornography, fraud, etc. She said if we want to eliminate and stay safe from cyber crime, we must say no to certain things like sharing of password, id, avoid when known or unknown person asked to send inappropriate photos or videos and should always maintain strict privacy and security. She asked the boys and girls to strengthen their inner strength if they want to stay safe from cyber crime and quoted “Be a Cyber Sage Girl”.
Bh. Supriya Devi, Advocate and former General Secretary, All Manipur Bar Association was the last speaker of the observation and she spoke on the topic “Legislation for the Promotion of Gender Equality”. She started her speech with a short intro of International Day of the Girl Child and the theme “Our time is Now – Our Rights, Our Future”. She talked about how girls and women are treated in the former age, how women have been fighting inequality and how women are seen as a child bearing machine.
She spoke on the legal age of marriage for boys and girls, child marriage, elopement, discrimination between girl child and boy. She also talked on the Right to Education, issues of drug and addictions, safe measures from unknown transportation of drugs and advised the students not to taste anything from unknown persons.
She spoke on POCSO and said that POCSO cases have been increasing day by day and gender is neutral in POCSO. She said if there is sexual offence on a child below 16, the accused is punishable to capital punishment. She also mentioned victim compensation. She said there have been a lot of changes as compared to the former era, nowadays we have so many high ranking women in every field. She urges the girls that their time is now; we must know our rights and think about our future.
There was a short question and answer session and some participants also expressed their thoughts.