By Dr Shan Narayanan
All children need care, love and emotional, health and educational support, to grow, develop and flourish in order to bring out their potential.
The first look at the phrase ‘Children in Need’, will remind many of the famous BBC UK Charity. This charity, “Children in Need, since 1980, has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK. One of the highlights is an annual telethon, held in November every year and televised on BBC.
Beyond the charity, Children in Need are children arising from the circumstances of a situation. The circumstances of the situation are variable. They, however, have one thing in common, they are all deprived of their basic needs, that is, care, love and support.
The following groups of children are Children in Need: children who have lost their parents; children living in poverty; children from broken homes; children living in violence, abuse, neglect and maltreatment; children with conduct problems; children with disability; children living in violence; sexually exploited/abused children; child soldiers; and child workers. This is not an exhaustive list.
In Malaysia as of 2007, 8.1% of children under 5 (178,400 children); 9.4% of children under 15 (724,900 children) and 10% of children under 18 (820,000 children) were living in poverty. From the proportion of children under 15 living in poverty, 285,700 were from the urban areas and 439,200 from rural areas. The highest number of children living in poverty is from the state of Sabah. (Reported by Child Rights Coalition Malaysia, December 2012).
These children generally live far away from school and health facilities. Education is compulsory in Malaysia and we have an affordable and accessible public health system. However, due to the lack of awareness of their parents, these children are deprived of schooling and health care. There is much to be done for these children, starting with creating awareness among their parents of the available services and how to access them.
Children from families who are unable to provide the support due to financial, family conflict or disciplinary problems are put into care. There are government and private facilities that provide care for these children. Government facilities provide care for abused, abandoned or poor children; children under provisional probation by the court; children who commit crimes but are not sentenced to jail; teenage girls accused of “vice” activities; and children with disabilities. Private facilities provide care for abandoned, neglected and orphan children (reported by Child Rights Coalition Malaysia, December 2012).
Our children are fortunate but there are many unfortunate children. Donating money and material things is what most of us would do, however, understanding their plight and respecting them is equally important.
COME JOIN THE‘WALK FOR CHILDREN IN NEED’ORGANISED BY ANNING CHILDREN’S HOME, AMPANG BARU, IPOHon29 MARCH 2015 @ 7 amA 5-km walk starting and ending at Red Crescent Hall Ipoh.Contact: Ng Wem Qi 010 562 1210