Twenty-seven Sisters attended a workshop on August 12-13, 2017 to prepare a ‘child protection policy’ for Patna Province in Mokama. Reverend Christu Das, director of SIGN (Social Initiatives for Growth and Networking) based in Ranchi, was the resource person. The participants were SCNs Philomena Kottoor, provincial and Amelia Moras, vice-provincial, hostel in-charges, school principals, formation directors and the education director.

Sister Amelia led the group in prayer and Sister Philomena welcomed Father Christu.

Father Christu began the session with a few simple questions: Who is a child? Why do we need child protection policy? After which there was a good interaction among the participants. The group came to the conclusion that we need a child protection policy to safeguard the rights of children. Each one of us realized that children are the valuable assets of family, society, nation and the world, at large.

The national policy for ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2013 was elaborately discussed. It was clear to us that childhood is an integral part of life with the value of its own. Father Christu invited us to see the potentials and spark in every child and treat them with care and dignity. He challenged us to look at the environment in our own institutions: Are they child-friendly? Each one had time to introspect, to see how we deal with the children in our care.

We came to realize that a long-term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for overall harmonious development and protection of the children. It is our prime responsibility to promote and safeguard the rights of all children to live and grow with equity, dignity, security, and freedom especially those marginalized or disadvantaged. Acts related to the rights of children in the Indian Constitution were highlighted and discussed in length.

Sisters were divided into four groups to discuss and formulate a child protection policy for Patna Province. The report was presented in the large group. A core committee is formed to formulate the child protection policy for Patna Province. Members are Amelia Moras, Malini Manjoly, Priya Kalapurayil, Rose Plathottathil and Suchita Kullu. We concluded the workshop with a short presentation on the inter-relatedness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato Si of Pope Francis.

SCNs Anita Tigga and Gracy Mlakuzhiyil / More photos