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September 22, 2015

An exciting day for street children Myra Imran


September 22, 2015

It was an exciting day for street children from Islamabad suburb as they celebrated International Peace Day for the first time in their lives at the National Child Protection Centre (NCPC) on Monday.
It wasn’t a lavish event in a five start hotel with a very important person as chief guest but it involved the right people to work with-the children who have never been in schools and had a background of begging on Islamabad streets. Joint Secretary for Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights Humaira Azam Khan was the guest of honour at the event.
Accommodated in a room that is much smaller for 76 children, children had a fun time as they saw their classmates, Omer and friends, performing tableau on ‘Mien Aisi Qoaum Say Hun Jis Kay Vo Bachun Say Darta Hay.’ They all clapped and cheered to encourage their friends on every step of the tableau and late sang national songs along with their teachers.
It wasn’t easy for teachers from OSCS to control such large number of children -- most of them arrived just two days ago from area adjoining Zia Mosque on Express Highway.
“When they arrived in NCPC, most of them were without shoes and their hygienic condition was much worst then what you can see today,” said Director NCPC Muhammad Yousaf Shah.
Around 40 children belonging to area around Zia Masjid have recently been given admission for non-formal education in the NCPC. These children will first attend classes of non-formal education at the centre, working under Federal Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, which will be followed by their enrolment in schools after they come at par with the formal education system.
Area around Zia Mosque is famous for child beggary. The record of NCPC shows that most of the child beggars picked by police from roads and markets of Islamabad belonged to the same area. The NCPC field staff held meetings with the families of those children and after continuous awareness session and

effective mobilisation, the parents agreed to send their children in NCPC for non formal education.
Speaking on this occasion, Joint Secretary Humaira Azam encouraged children to spread the message peace and tolerance in the society. She asked them to work hard and play their role in the development of the country. She appreciated the confidence level of the children and urged them to use it in positive manner.
Director NCPC Yousaf Shah introduced children with the International Peace Day. He said that the day is celebrated around the world on September 21 and it is dedicated to world peace and specifically the absence of war and violence. The day was first celebrated in 1982.
In a briefing to the ministry officials on NCPC’s achievements since January 2015, Director NCPC said that the centre has reunified 285 children with their families. In total, 3586 children have been reunified through the centre. Besides that, 191 children at risk received non-formal education, 60 children were enrolled in government schools after receiving non-formal education and 107 calls were received at the NCPC helpline (080011515) that started working from February 27, 2015. “Most of these calls were to inquire about missing children,” said the Director.
He said that the centre is in the process of making Standard Operating Procedures to deal with the children. He recommended construction of building for NCPC in Islamabad at an approachable place and legal support for the centre in the form of the approval of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Child Protection and Welfare Bill. “This legislation will provide us legal ground and protection in attending any case of children at risk,” he said in his presentation before the Joint Secretary.
Yousaf Shah shared that the centre provides shelter to runaway, missing and street children and those who are involved in beggary. He said that they provide non-formal education, counselling, reunification and referral services, vocational skills and facilities like free pick and drop, lunch, uniform, books and teaching.

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