Pledges for Safer and Healthier World for All Children

October 14, 2017

HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji – Muniji​ President of Parmarth Niketan​, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati​ji, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation​, along with pilgrims from over 15 countries and all across India welcomed Nobel Prize Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi​ji and more then eighty members of his Bharat Yatra against Child Sexual Abuse and Trafficking to the banks of the River Ganga to Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh).

The Yatra has been travelling the entirety of India since early September. Now in its concluding weekend, the Yatris had an awareness raising event in Dehradun yesterday at the Graphic Era University and came home to Parmarth Niketan, on the banks of the River Ganga, to celebrate their historic pilgrimage and share poignant messages in hopes of eradicating the suffering of children. Departing this morning from Rishikesh they move to the last leg of the yatra concluding in Delhi at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the 16th October.

According to experts:

‌• Every day, 40 children are raped and 48 children are sexually abused
‌• Every 6 minutes, a child goes missing‌
• More than 4.5 lakhs children have been victimsof trafficking, bought and sold for commercial and sexual exploitation
‌• Children represent more than 40% of our country’s population, yet merely 4% of our country’s budget is spent on their education and security

Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, President of Parmarth Niketan and Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, “Our children are not only our next generation, they are our NOW generation. Hence, it is our duty to protect them from harm, whether it be child abuse, child labour, child marriage, slavery, sex trafficking or the lack of adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) which takes the lives of nearly 1600 children everyday, with countless more malnourished and stunted. This Bharat Yatra, having now traversed nearly the whole of India, symbolizes a bright ray of hope for raising our voices and joining our efforts to create safer, happier and healthier lives for all of our children.”

Said Shri Kailash Satyarthiji, “Its a pleasure and honour to be blessed here on the banks of Mother Ganga. I have great respect for Pujya Swamiji for many, many years. To me he symbols the conscious action of protecting all of creation not only be teaching and preaching but by doing. His compassion and passion is always to inspire masses to protect our environment, trees, rivers and all of Mother Nature. Coming to the banks of Mother Ganga, to Parmarth Niketan, has washed away any tiredness in our body from this more than 11000 kms yatra. Today, we are even more convicted and committed to make this world a better, safer place for all. ”

Said Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation and Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, “In August we celebrated 70 years of Independence. However, as long as nearly 3.5 crore (330 million) children have never attended a day of school due to being forced into labour, and more than 10 lakhs (one million) are forced into prostitution each year, we cannot truly call ourselves a free country. I feel that only when every child is free to walk out of someone else’s farm, factory, mine or bed and receive an education, only then can we consider ourselves truly a free nation.”

Said HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji added, “Soon, the physical yatra will end, but we must all still join this mighty cause and march together, joining hands and hearts, through our time, talents and tenacity so that every child can not only survive but truly thrive.”

What can you do?

‌• Talk to your children, do not ignore your child’s unexplained silence
‌• If you see any child in need of help anywhere, Inform the police at 100 | Call the Child helpline at 1098 Call the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation on +91 11 49211111-12‌
• Take care of your children in public places, but most importantly inside your homes. Most children are abused in domestic spheres and by people they know!‌
• Take collective action in your community to protect children from any form of abuse

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