January 24th is observed as the National Girl Child Day across India. There are many reasons why this day is essential for the growth of the nation. The girl child has been ignored, suppressed, abused, and generally discouraged by several generations of families in the country. Initiated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008, the day aims to promote varied topics related to the progress of the girl child, including legal rights, education, healthcare etc. Various topics still hold the stigma and are thus brushed under the carpet like child marriage, female foeticide and infanticide, mental/physical/emotional abuse etc.
There are many reasons as to why the girl child is at the receiving end of harsh circumstances that often lead to the decline in their lives, especially in context to their health. The neglect and discrimination lead to a life devoid of basic human rights where most young girls go on to live with little to no autonomy and barely participate in any of the decision-making at their household.
Such situations coupled with poverty and illiteracy lead to several underprivileged girls ending up on the streets. There are a few ways that they can be uplifted and empowered, one of them being regular nationwide social awareness regarding the patriarchal attitudes in society. Schools and colleges must include education on gender equality and how the youth can healthily participate and practise it. Most females are unaware of the legal rights that lead them toward decisions that are uninformed, misguided and self-harming. Knowledge can truly be liberating, and information regarding some of the legal acts can truly be used as meaningful tools.
To accelerate the support, Indian citizens from across the globe must donate for street children, especially the girl child. Your donation to Salaam Baalak Trust, a trusted non-profit organization, can help enrol children in regular schools, carry out health camps, give sensitization workshops etc. Such efforts go a long way in their impact and help NGOs like SBT in supporting underprivileged children in the best possible manner.