After noticing the dwindling health status of rescued child labourers at the schools run by the National Child Labour Project Society (NCLPS),the Labour Department has decided to extend the provisions of twice-a-day meal to these children from the next academic session.
The programme will be extended to nine such schools run in the slum pockets of the city under NCLPS. Here,the rescued child labourers,between the age group of 5 and 14,are given preliminary and non-formal education.
Apart from the high prevalence of skin allergies and infections,the routine monthly health check-ups by the NCLPS has also shown several cases of anaemia,malnutrition and various other irregularities related to malnutrition.
Almost all the children are underweight and have stunted growth. In many cases,the normal growth of these children is stalled and a nine-year-old child can be easily passed off as a five-year-old. We feel that a proper course of food given twice a day can improve the situation, said NCLPS Project Director Janki Tank.
The NCLPS recently made a liaison with the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) for including the Mid Day Meal (MDM) Scheme for municipal schools in the city. The provision will be made available for over 450 rescued child labourers at nine NCLPS-run schools in various slum pockets of the city.
We are already providing the children with afternoon meal under the NCLPS. After the liaison,the MDM will provide the afternoon meal,while the NCLPS will pack the supper every evening,which the children can take back home, said Tank.
She added: With this,we are trying to reach not just the children with us at the NCLPS schools,but also to their siblings back home. Enough quantity will be given so that the food can be shared. We intend to see the results within five months of the implementation of the twice-a-day meal programme.
NCLPS also intends to extend the programme to other schools in various neighbouring talukas of Kwant,Dabhoi,Savli and Waghodia.
Similar schools for child labourers are run in the talukas as well.
But since MDM is restricted only to the city premises,some other provisions have to be made for children in the talukas before the next academic year, said G H Jani,Assistant Commissioner of Labour.