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Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child  
 
 
SPARC NEWS
 
SPARC Conducts Awareness Raising Seminar on Child Labour in Hyderabad

SPARC recently conducted a seminar on Child Labour Awareness in Hyderabad, Sindh. The seminar participants included representatives from SPARC and different other civil society organizations, labour department representatives, trade unions, and federations from across Sindh province, as well as U.S. Consul General in Karachi, Grace W. Shelton. The SPARC team at the event was headed by Sadia Hussain (Executive Director SPARC).

 

This seminar was among the ongoing endeavor to raise awareness against child labour and to reduce its prevalence in Sindh. SPARC is currently also a member of a joint task force that has been setup under the Jamshoro initiative; which is aimed at ensuring that it remains a child labour free district. This initiative was also among the topics of discussion during the seminar.

 
ABPAW Gifts Land to SPARC for Setting Up Street Children & Community Center
An MOU has been signed between Association of Business Professional and Agricultural Women (ABPAW) and SPARC, according to which a ABPAW has gifted land to SPARC (for lifetime) for setting up a Street Children & Community center. SPARC is very thankful to ABPAW.
 
SPARC All Set to Launch 5th Center for Street Children in Islamabad
SPARC is opening a new Center for Street children with the collaboration of AIR Trust from February, 2017 in Waheed Abad, near Zia Masjid, Islamabad. SPARC previously had 4 centers for street children across Pakistan, including Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad and Peshawar. The Islamabad center will be SPARC’s 5th center. SPARC’s street children centers offer non-formal Education, psycho-social support, reunification support, health & hygiene care, medical camps, stakeholder meetings and awareness campaigns, as well as education and vocational training for marginalized/out of school children.
 
Two Days Training Workshop on Capacity Building of Political Administration on Juvenile Justice System Ordinance

Child Protection Coordination Unit FATA and Directorate of Social Welfare FATA Secretariat, Peshawar organized two days’ workshop for Assistant Political Agents and Directorate of social welfare staff FATA. The Workshop was held on the 26th and 27th of January, 2017. The main objectives of the workshop included; facilitating the exchange of views with participants, to equip staff of political administration with relevant knowledge and skills regarding child protection with special emphasis on Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 (JJSO), to provide participants with an opportunity to learn about the ordinance and to transform the system into actions. Furthermore, the workshop was meant to engage participants in devising action plans with possible key roles and responsibilities to mainstreaming JJSO 2000 into FATA.

 

During the workshop SPARC’s Mr. Jahanzeb Khan with the support of Co-trainer Mr. Akbar Ali Shah conducted sessions based on the UNCRC, Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, child Protection and coordination mechanism in FATA. Brainstorming, lectures, group discussions, Group works, and Role Play were also a part of the activities of the interactive workshop. SPARC’s IEC materials, such as the Sate of Pakistan’s Children Report and other material related to child rights and child protection was also distributed among participants.

 
SPARC’s Street Children Cricket Team from Hyderabad Reaches Semi-Final of Sindh Games, Sprinters Bag 6 Gold Medals

The SPARC’s Center for Street Children cricket team from Hyderabad reached the semi-final of the Sindh Games. Additionally, SPARC’s street children team received 6 gold medals, which included medals won by 4 girls and 2 boys in 800, 400, 200 and 100 meter race categories.

 

Adding to the joy of the SPARC team; Sonya Rafiq from the SPARC street children’s sports team made her whole batch proud when she bagged the 2nd position in Sindh Games.


These were commendable achievements on behalf of the CSC team and administration, considering this was the first time the Center for Street Children got the chance to participate in any major sporting event.

 
SPARC Distributes Certificates to 800 Females for Completing Vocational Training
SPARC distributed certificates to 800 females who received vocational training. SPARC is currently implementing a project on early and forced marriages of children, under the Support of Common Wealth of Learning in district Muzaffargarah and Jatoi. The project is aimed and delivering vocational courses to underprivileged girls (aged 14-25).
 
SPARC Board Member Nominated as a Member of National Commission on the Status of Women for 2nd Term

Nominated as a member of National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) for the second term (For a three years’ tenure) to represent KP in the commission.

 

National Commission on the Status of Women is a statutory body, established in July 2000. It is an outcome of the national and international commitments of the Government of Pakistan like Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995; and National Plan of Action (NPA) for Women, 1998. NCSW was established with the specific purpose to: Examine policies, programs and other measures taken by the government for women’s development and gender equality.

 
Report on Child Specific Resource Allocation in Sindh Budget Released by SPARC & CRM Sindh

On 29th, December, 2016 CRM (Child Rights Movement) Sindh, in collaboration with their implementing partner in the province, SPARC, and Chief Social Welfare Ministry, Women Development and Labor Development (Sindh); inaugurated a report title ‘Child Specific Resource Allocation in Sindh Budget” (2015-16 & 2016-17). The event was held at Mehran Hotel, Karachi.

 

The report includes analysis of the budgetary allocation on child rights by the Sindh government. A comparative analysis has been drawn in the report on two fiscal years, i.e. 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. The report includes all components of children specific schemes and programmes. 

 

According to the report, a sum of Rs 200 million was allocated by the Sindh Government for child protection in the budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 under the Child Protection Authority Act, 2011 through the Social Welfare Department. This budget was not utilized by the end of December, 2016, whereas he percentage of allocation from the annual development programme (ADP) for child-specific schemes by the Education and Literacy Department has fallen from 60.48% in 2015-2016 to 40.05% in 2016-2017.

 
Training on Self Help Groups on Social Mobilization and Advocacy Skills Conducted by SPARC in Tandu Alla Yar

SPARC conducted a 2 day training on social mobilization and advocacy techniques in Tandu Alla Yar. The purpose of the training was to enhance the capacities of women leaders in such a way that they can convince various decision makers in claiming their rights, and improving their household livelihood. They were guided to realize about their self-strengths and local available resources as well as the importance of working in teams. The essence of volunteerism was discussed in explaining the roles and responsibilities of a self-help group.

 

Participants identified their potential partners and alliances. Various participatory activities were used to discuss the process of social mobilization in respective community. They also highlighted the prevailing issues and interventions needed to improve the condition by using a gap model technique. Participants were involved in hands on activities while addressing the ways of effective advocacy work. They were tasked to convince various kinds of audience/decision makers such as a local politician, government official, minister, donor, local community members. The trainers further shared ways of advocacy presentation.

 

Role Plays, Forum Theater, Radio Shows, and many other interesting activities were used to explain the topics. Participants prepared plans for futures advocacy initiatives. An appraisal form, including 29 indicators was shared as follow-up of the training. The SHG appraisal form is basically a plan for future advocacy work. Each indicators needs to be focused when it comes to the effectiveness of the SHG.

 
SPARC Conducts Exposure Visits for Teachers from Abbottabad and Haripur

SPARC conducted exposure visits for female and male teachers from selected schools of Abbottabad and Haripur. 16 Female teachers from 15 GGPS of Abbottabad and 35 male Teachers participated in three exposure visits.

 

Teachers praised SPARC’s efforts for making public schools more efficient. SPARC’s intervention in schools in different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has included, provision of facilities, PTC and Teachers trainings, quiz and spelling competitions, etc. The interventions have resulted in increased student attendance, end to corporal punishment, increased learning outcomes, and a steady rise in student enrolment.

 
 
 
Use of Interactive Theater as a tool to sensitize the community and other stake holder about Child Rights

SPARC Organized an interactive theater performance in District Haripur on 31 June, 2016 with the involvement of Government Girls Primary Schools students. Aim of this activity was to create the awareness about the harms of corporal punishment and child Rights. This Theater play gave a comparative analysis between the child friendly classrooms and traditionally strict classrooms environment. Play revolved around the theme of educational systems and some negative practices which are affecting quality of education.

 

Key Stakeholders at the event:

  1. Tasleem Khan - Deputy Commissioner Haripur (Chief Guest)
  2. Yasmenn Aziz - SDEO Haripur (F)
  3. Mumtaz Khan - ASDEO Haripur
  4. Shagufta Jabeen - ASDEO Haripur
  5. Asif Khan - Tehsile Nazim Harpur
  6. SPARC Staff - ABT & HRP

Total 350 students (285 girls and 65 boys) from 3 GGPS, 40 Female teachers and 90 females (Parents mothers) from surrounding community participated in the event.


At very outset of the event Shahid Aziz Khan District Coordinator SPARC welcomed the participants and shared the SPARC introduction and theater activity objective. At the end of theater activity evaluation/feedback forms was shared with different individual for their feedback and suggestion.  Very positive feedback was received.


Theater performance was divided into three parts, first part in which the theater performer showed the strict traditional classroom environment in which a untrained teachers come on stage and treat the children very badly and also punished some of the students for not completing their homework without asking for a reason. While the teaching her class she makes funny mistakes like mis-pronouncing English words. This classroom environment resulted in dropouts of the students. In next scene some children come on stage and present different types of child labor. Meanwhile, children on stage start discussing d with each other of how they got involved in labor activities, most of them responded that they left the school because of corporal punishment and harsh environment of the school. At the same moment, two philanthropists appear on stage and they asked the hotel owner to avoid the child labor, these philanthropists took the children to nearest school. This school presented as a child friendly school. In this school teachers were asking the students about their needs and area of interest, this school children has proper place for sitting and trained teacher teaching them in a very friendly environment.


Deputy Commissioner Haripur Tasleem Khan was invited as Chief Guest Deputy
Commissioner Haripur while addressing the Parents and Teachers; appreciated SPARC efforts for sensitizing key stakeholders against corporal punishment. He said that teaching is one of the noble professions where one imparts knowledge to others. Teachers must consider his students as his own children, and treat them as lovingly and caringly as possible. He should applaud a student’s achievements, and help him to overcome his shortcomings by motivating him to pursue his interests.


DEO, SDEO, ADEO and Jahanzeb Khan from SPARC also addressed the event and shared their feedback about the activity.

 

Status of corporal punishment in KP
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010 bans corporal punishment in the family and other settings. However, in spite of this provision, the act has failed to ban institutional physical violence. Recent research conducted by Alif Ailaan showed that above 70 per cent teachers in Pakistan agreed that corporal punishment is useful. Many of others studies have proved that corporal punishment is one of the main reasons affecting not only quality education in government schools but also caused drop out of the student form schools.

 
SOPC launch at Hyderabad‏
 
Dr Rozina from Aga University paid a visit to SPARC’s center for street children in Peshawar on the 27th of May, 2016.

Dr. Rozina, who was most recently the Interim Dean at the AKU - School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM), is an associate professor at both SONAM and in the Community Health Sciences (CHS) Department ofAKU.  Dr. Rozina began her career as a Community Health Nurse and Preceptor in the CHS department at AKU in 1988 and completed her MPH in Public Health Administration in 1994, her MScN in Public Health Nursing Administration in 1997 and her PhD in Nursing, with a focus on Health Systems, Ethics and Program Evaluation in 2000. Her areas of interest include violence prevention, women and child health, and gender equity.


Accompanying Dr Rozina, Waqar bolani from Serena hotel, DR. Nadir Zahir, Fozia from Aga khan Health Board also visited the CSC in Peshawar. Sohail Akhtar manager CSC Peshawar presented an introductory presentation about the center. Presentation included all the services rendered by the CSC in Peshawar, its’ community practice and all activities conducted with the street children.


After the orientation, delegation was given a virtual tour around the CSC. Dr Rozina visited children in all departments namely; Non-Formal Education (NFE), Vocational Skills Training (VST) and psychosocial support. Dr Rozina extended her services to SPARC, stating that she could arrange for a training for the entire CSC staff members on matters like psychosocial support and child health.


In appreciation of the services given by SPARC CSCs, Dr Rozina shared lunch with the street children at the center. Children were propounded with joy for being to enjoy a lunch party – which they can seldom make time for in the midst of their busy lives - working to make money and getting education.

 
Press Release: Lauch of SPARC's Annual Publication "State of Pakistan's Children 2015" Report

On the 21st of April 2016, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) launched its annual State of Pakistan’s Children Report at Hillview Hotel Islamabad. The event was attended by state functionaries, human/child rights activists, media personnel representing major print and electronic media houses, officials from national and international NGOs and donor agencies and most importantly children from SPARC’s Center for Street Children in Rawalpindi. The Chief Guests on the occasion were Mrs. Zahra Wadood Fatemi MNA (PMLN) and the Canadian High Commissioner Ambassador Heather Cruden.

 

SPARC’s research department representatives Mr. Zohair Waheed, Ms. Marium Soomro, and Ms. Fatima N. Raja presented the findings of the 2015 report and highlighted that Pakistan has remained far from achieving its national and international commitments with regards to protecting and promoting the rights of children in the country.  

 

The report quoted various national and international sources to reveal that 25 million children (aged 5-16 years) are out of school in Pakistan of which 13 million are girls. Pakistan also missed its targets set under the Education For All and Millennium Development Goals (Goal 2) 2015. The situation is further compounded by the lack of infrastructure and teaching staff along with poor teaching standards in public schools which forces more children to drop out of schools.

 

With regard to child health in 2015, 54 cases of polio were reported from different parts of the country in comparison to 269 from the previous year, a positive and hopeful way forward. However, children in Tharparkar, Sindh are still dying of acute malnutrition, starvation and lack of basic healthcare bringing the death toll of children to 143 by the end of 2015. The Under Five Mortality Rate (U5MR) was reported to be around 86 deaths per 1000 births while the Maternal Mortality Ratio remains constant at 276 deaths per 100,000 births. These statistics show that when it comes to the progress of the government health sector, increased proactive measures must be taken to eliminate the various health crises afflicting the children of Pakistan.

 

The report also revealed that on the front of child labor the absence of an up-to-date database of child laborers is a major hindrance in formulating policies and legislation that will work towards the elimination of child labor in Pakistan. Moreover, there is an urgent need to ensure the rights of these workers and to ban the employment of children in home-based industry and the domestic sector.

 

The report also identified the increasing prevalence of violence against children in the country by presenting statistics regarding child marriages, honor killings and child sexual abuse etc in the country. According to the report, the total number of child sexual abuse cases stood at 3,768 cases in 2015; a rate of 10 cases of child sexual abuse every day. It is disheartening to see that only after the extreme tragedy in Kasur, did the government take serious action to protect the rights of children by enacting legislation. Furthermore, approximately 21% of girls in Pakistan are married before the age of 18 while 40 cases of acid attacks were reported to the Acid Survivors Foundation.

 
New Project: Empowering Girls and Women
With funding from the government of Australia, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), has partnered with SPARC to support skills development for vulnerable and hard-to-reach women and girls using open and distance learning. Empowering women and girls to shape their own future has an incredible multiplier effect on economic growth that leads to increased prosperity not just for individuals, but for entire communities. SPARC’s project in collaboration with COL will provide skills training to a minimum of 5,000 women and girls in marginalized communities of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The outcomes of the project will include improved sustainable livelihoods; increased and equitable access to, and use of, quality learning opportunities; improved organization capacity to leverage open and distance learning.