- a renewal of commitment to the Girl Child
Anguished at the spate of unabated incidents of violence against young women and girl children, the Church of South India (CSI) Synod has announced the renewal of its campaign for the Girl Child.
Between 2000 and 2010, the CSI committed itself to the affirmation of the blessedness of the girl child (Little One, Arise!), and the fact that she is 'created in the image of God' just as the boys and thus precious. During that period every local congregation was involved in affirmative action such as raising awareness in their neighbourhood, re-opening closed hostels for girls, strengthening the infrastructure in girls' schools, addressing concerns relating to missing girls through gender-sensitivity trainings for both women and men, and such other activities that helped to focus the well-being, right and dignity of the Girl Child. Since 2010, the dioceses and the institutions of the CSI were expected to sustain this mission, mainstreaming the concerns in their regular activities.
Taking advantage of the 15 weeks between the International day of the Girl Child (October 11, 2014) and the National Day of the Girl Child (January 24, 2015), an intensive campaign renewing its commitment to the Girl Child was announced this time awakening to respond to the challenging call from the girl child, 'Assure my future”. In this 106 day period the CSI will involve in intensive introspection and co-ordinated interventions aimed at assuring the future of the Girl Child.
The Campaign was inaugurated on Tuesday the 7th October 2014 at 2.30 PM in a mega children's rally held in the CSI LITE Auditorium, 17, Balfour Road, Kellys, Chennai 600010. 700 children from all dioceses, including from CCCYC sponsored hostels and programs, participated in the inauguration presenting a colourful pageant of song and dance expressing their talents and also their yearning for a future in which their peace and security will be real.
The current phase of the campaign will focus on rights and justice issues concerning Education, Food, Nutrition, and Health of the Girl Child that will secure the future for her. Care providers and significant others will be trained in enabling and protective legislations that will protect and enhance the dignity and right of the Girl child. The members of the CSI will be trained to identify and report instances of violation and abuse to the respective State Commissioners for the Protection of Child rights and to the National Commissioner. Members of the church will also invite their neighbours of different faith and ideologies to join in this campaign assuring the future of the Girl Child.
On November 16, 2014 (Sunday closest to the Children's day), members of each of the 15,000 local churches are encouraged to offer special prayers with the Girl Child and co-ordinate with peoples of different faiths in the neighbourhood in a 'girl-child walk' highlighting the concerns relating to securing the future for her, a future in which girls and boys together will complement each other in growing together for the benefit of all.
It is hoped that through the different components of this campaign the Church, and the Society in which it is placed, will transform to a new relationship in the mission of affirming Life for All. A pointer toward significant improvement from the declining child-sex ration in the 0-6 category children and prompt detection and trial of reported cases, apart from the enormous synergy to be generated, will mark the success of this campaign.
The Campaign is facilitated by the Department of Diaconal Concerns and the Department of the Pastoral Concerns of the CSI Synod alongside the Churches' Council of Child and Youth Care (CCCYC).