GUWAHATI, Dec 18 – The UNICEF in association with the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) today announced a three-year programme aimed at addressing the issue of rampant child rights violation in tea estates of Assam.As part of the initiative, three districts of Assam including Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivasagar will be covered in the first phase.
The project supported by the State Government, Assam Branch of the India Tea Association (ABITA) and the Bharatiya Cha Parishad is the first of its kind initiative to bring together key stakeholders in tea industry in both public and private organisations and the supply chain to find an answer to child abuse and exploitation.
The programme aims to cover 104 tea gardens along with 350 villages located in the periphery of tea estates.
The programme was launched during a day-long symposium on promotion of child rights in the tea estates of Assam held here today.
Speaking on the occasion, chief guest and chairperson of the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) Runumi Gogoi said that there is a need for a multi-pronged approach to strengthen child protection measures across the tea garden community.
Vedprakash Gautam, child protection specialist, UNICEF, Assam Field Office, addressing the participants said that educational institutions, especially universities and colleges, will also be involved in the programme.
He reckoned that without the help and support of State-level machinery, the effort will not be able to reap the desired results.
Dr Tushar Rane, chief of field office, UNICEF, Assam, said, “Child protection initiatives in the tea communities of Assam are of significant importance. The tea community contributes 51 per cent of India’s tea production but still remain marginalized. The new initiative will provide life-skill training and education to nearly 25,000 girls and 10,000 community members to protect themselves against abuse and exploitation. Further, it will also strengthen child protection systems.”
Diya Sharma of ETP mentioned that the new project aims to address some of the deep-rooted protection issues in the tea gardens which would improve the lives and livelihood of the community.