‘Daruwan Surakimu’: Initiates programs to keep children safe | Sunday Observer

‘Daruwan Surakimu’: Initiates programs to keep children safe

The ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ national program was initiated by the  Presidential Secretariat because there is a genuine need to protect our  children.
The ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ national program was initiated by the Presidential Secretariat because there is a genuine need to protect our children.

As the world celebrated Children’s Day on October 1, it is very necessary to remember that the children of today would one day grow up to be the leaders of the world, which is why a great deal of attention must be paid to them.

Especially in a developing country like Sri Lanka, the future generation is hugely significant for the entire community. Having recognised that, a number of programs in relation to children was organised over the last few years.

The National Program - ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ (Let’s Protect Our Children) was initiated by the President’s office based on a concept of President Maithripala Sirisena under the objective to protect our children and to create an environment for them to live safely in society.

The program is conducted island-wide under five heads, namely preventing abuse and mistreatment; ensuring their security, health, nutrition and welfare; personality development; education and uplifting life skills. The children are empowered under numerous fields such as health, education, psychological counselling and legal advice.

In addition there was another program - ‘Anagathaya Dinana Daruwo’ conducted under the ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ national program. Some programs to promote the children’s interest for reading are carried out under ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ national program. Rs. 250 million was allocated to carry out special tasks in 2018 under this program.

“The ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ national program was initiated by the Presidential Secretariat because there is a genuine need to protect our children. If the protection provided was sufficient, a project of this nature would not have been needed. From what we see in the media today and what we hear, even the home does not seem to be a safe place. Providing safety for children when in school, which were considered to be another home for children, have also become a challenge.

Children have to bear hardships further once they get into society, someday. The more you put your focus on technology and money, instead of humanity, people tend to forget the responsibility in protecting children,” the President said earlier this year.

Malnutrition has been a persistent problem in Sri Lanka despite some of the health indicators suggesting that the country is performing alright. It was due to this issue that the National Nutritional Policy was established in 2010, but the country’s nutritional status has not been at a great level according to the Sri Lanka Demographic and Health Survey in the last few years.

The government having recognised this launched a national program under President Sirisena’s concept of ‘nutritious young generation, of a nation bountiful with milk’.

The ‘Grama Shakthi’ people’s movement which is conducting this program aims to provide a pack of milk to school children from a selected set of schools. They are targeting a total of 1.7 million school children.

The whole idea of this program is to provide enough milk and nutrition for the children at school in order to produce a healthy next generation, with the government having understood the importance of liquid milk. One pack of milk is valued at Rs. 21 which means that this program would spend an amount of Rs. 6.7 billion on 1.7 million school children yearly.

It has also been revealed that school children are one of the prime targets of drug dealers in the country. Program Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre, Asitha Dharshana Fonseka said during an interview that “There is a growing trend to introduce substances other than alcohol and tobacco especially to school children. Children have been introduced to substances like ‘baabul’ and ‘pampara’ from their young days.

Various programs including the ‘Drug Eradication Week’ and ‘Bakmaha Pledge’ were conducted in an attempt to protect the young generation from narcotics over the last few years.

“Drug smugglers now hand school children drugs free of charge in an attempt to get them addictive. I know even in some of the Universities there are drug addicts, how did that all start? Because they were given drugs free of charge and see what has happened today. So we need to stop this happening,” the President said.