Not far from Hotel Thikana lies the building of the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development, mercifully reduced to the acronym NIPCCD. Established in 1966, the institute currently has four centers situated in various parts of India. Here we learned about initiatives being undertaken to secure children’s rights and stabilize other aspects of life, such as marriage and adoption practices.
The NIPCCD greeted us warmly with the same high degree of hospitality we had found at other places we’d visited (the one exception being the U.S. embassy). Tea was served, biscuits were dispersed, and pencils began scribbling as we took down the notes from the esteemed director of the institute, Dinesh Paul, along with two of his top staffers, S.K. Srivastava and Ashok Kumar, all of whom seemed delighted to meet face-to-face with a bunch of rootin’ tootin’ Texas teachers.
I was impressed by the level of research the institute conducts on a voluntary basis. For example, they have created a program called SABLA, described as a “scheme for adolescent girls.” Volunteers conduct an average of fifteen research studies per year to determine the engagement of young girls in the educational system. The group also furnishes hostels for women and children in need of shelter, and they do much to promote green campuses in schools. Another initiative is the Childline Project, a kind of hotline for reporting incidents involving child abuse, requesting intervention, and protecting children’s health. Just dial #1098.
The marriage issue came up again. The legal age of marriage in India is 18, but many parents arrange marriage for their children at a much younger age. The NIPCCD puts incentives in place for girls (and parents) to wait until at least the age of 18 before settling down. And again, the services provided are entirely voluntary, never mandatory or enforced, as far as the public is concerned.
For more information…
The NIPCCD official website: