Butterflies Annual Lecture Series: First Call for Children: Children’s Right to Family
December 12, New Delhi
As part of its annual series of lectures, Butterflies organised the Gerry Pinto Memorial Lecture on the Children’s Right to a Family. The event was held at the India International Center and was attended by a diverse audience, with representation from Departments of Social Work, Sociology, activists and NGO members along with students. Dr. Vasanthi Raman, from the Centre for Women’s Development Studies chaired the lecture.
Ms. Rita Panicker, Director Butterflies introduced the theme to the audience. Ms. Panicker shared from a recent study conducted by Butterflies with children on the street and other vulnerable groups that almost all children interviewed stated that they wanted to live with their families. She stated that poverty is the primary cause for children having to live in institutional care. She stressed on the need to empower families in order for them to protect children rather than focussing only on institutional care and protection.
The keynotes address was given by Professor Rajni Palriwala from the Delhi School of Economics, Department of Sociology. Prof. Palriwala, in her address focused on the need to cater to children between 0 to 6 years and emphasise on the child’s right to a full-fledged childhood. She also spoke about the assumption (in welfare policies and measures) that family failures or the break-down of a family are exceptions rather than the norm. She mentioned that such welfare measures assume that women are necessarily present in the family to care for their children as opposed to understanding that the woman’s earning is crucial to the family. Thus there is a need to provide care facilities that respect this reality and make the right to a family a guaranteed right of the child.
The lecture series also included an address by Dr. Bino Thomas from the Department of Social Work, Christ University Bangalore. Dr.Thomas’s address drew from his experience in working with children as well as their parents- as part of therapy as well as in research studies he has conducted. His address included mentions of how the entire narrative of families are changing in the urban context and the immanent need for parents, children, teachers and all other stakeholders to understand these changes.