Children are the future of any society and it is the responsibility of the society to protect them and ensure that they get the best footing in life. All children have the right to survive, to protection, to be safe, to belong, to be heard, to receive adequate care and to grow in a protective environment.
In the present world, children face a host of negative factors that influence them quite unknown to previous generations. Unfortunately, the safety net is fragile for many children. Without intervention, community support, and guidance they face daunting obstacles. Concern about an alarming rise of sense of insecurity, loss of purpose in life, major emotional and psychological problems, socially deviant behaviour and crime rate in children has been voiced from many corners recently. An urgent need for supplementing the existing systems with effective programs to support children at the time of emotional crises, prevent socially deviant behaviour and to rehabilitate those in conflict with the legal system has also been realised by many.
Spirit of ORC
- What we are and what we become is not solely a function of birth and genetics, but rather shaped by family circumstances and personal experiences.
- When a child develops in a positive and healthy manner, the entire community benefits; on the other hand, if the child turns out to be a liability, the entire community may suffers.
- We, as responsible citizens of our country cannot shy away from our responsibility to children and stand as mute spectators as the safety net around our children gets broken.
Background of ORC
Project ORC was launched on an experimental basis in Kozhikode City against the background of increasing instances of criminal and anti-social behavior among youth. These included drug and alcohol abuse, theft and robbery, destruction of public property, association with criminal gangs, etc. During an eight-month period in 2010, Kozhikode City Police arrested many teenagers involved in theft of motorbikes, gold, computers, mobiles and cash. Shockingly, these incidents involved both boys and girls, and even included youth from financially and socially advanced sections of society. Upon questioning, the young offenders gave a variety of reasons for indulging in such activities, such as an urge to excitement, need for enjoyment or even out of boredom. Some had emotional reasons, such as anger and frustration; others had financial reasons - for drugs, shopping, acquiring fancy goods etc. A subsequent investigation revealed that:
- A large number of young people were also involved in crime-related activities, viz. theft, robbery and dealing in stolen goods and destruction of evidence.
- A number of teenagers, including girls, were engaging in socially deviant behaviour such as underage sexual activity, illicit use of drugs, etc.
- Substance abuse among youngsters involves easily obtained items such as nail polish remover, petrol, etc.
- Contraceptives were found in the schoolbags of girls in several city schools, indicating their involvement in sexual activity, either with peers or with adults
- Students were in the habit of using supposedly beauty-enhancing tablets, which were actually illegal and addictive drugs
In September 2010, in order to address criminal and deviant behaviour among young people, and realising that these problems could not effectively be addressed through legal measures alone, Kozhikode City Police in collaboration with the civil society initiated Project ORC. Following discussions with eminent social activists, media persons, educationists, and child psychologists, and based on suggestions and inputs from a wide spectrum of community members, a group of ten schools within Kozhikode city was selected to implement the ORC pilot project. The project was later replicated in cities like Thrissur , Ernakulam etc
Phase 2 of ORC
The phase 2 of the project is being implemented in selected schools of the districts of Kerala as an integral part of ICPS under department of social justice. Departments of education, health, home, local self Governments, non –Governmental organisations, civil society, parents, teachers etc are the key stakeholders of the project. The project has identified the following as its objectives for the current phase
- 1. Identify children with unhealthy behavioral deviation and support them with counseling, mentoring, expert care etc and also provide them with opportunities to realize and nurture their inert talents
- 2. Protect children from indulging in socially deviant and anti social activities
- 3. Strengthen the firewall of protection around our children by enabling parents, teachers and society to fulfill their responsibility to children
- 4. Coordination of different Governmental and Non – Governmental agencies working for the development and protection of children
The following are the components of the phase 2 of the project
1. At school level
a. Universal support for all children at school level
- i. Strength and difficulty assessment
- ii. Life Skill Education
- iii. Strengthening Students' Forums / Clubs and inclusion children with special needs/talents in forum/ club activities based on their aptitude/ interest
- iv. Sessions on Parenting through class wise PTA meetings
b. Identification and Support of Children with Special Needs
- i. Class room management of the children with mild behavioural and learning issues
- ii. School level management of children with moderate behavioural and learning issues by school counsellors, nodal teachers and school health nurses
- iii. Teacher/Peer/Social mentoring
- iv. Learning and Skill Enhancement Programmes
2. At Child Care Institutions
- a. Strength and difficulty assessment
- b. Life Skill Education
- c. Formation of Children's Forums / Clubs and inclusion children with special needs/talents in forum/ club activities based on their aptitude/ interest
- d. Mentoring
- e. Counselling
- f. Learning and skill enhancement programs
3. Professional help
- a. Referral of children to the District ORC Resource Centre for professional help, as and when needed