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Meena Day: What we can do to protect children's rights

Meena Day: What we can do to protect children's rights

Dr. Muhammad Mahtab Hossain Mazed

Today Saturday is Meena Day 2022. Considering Meena's popularity and acceptance, SAARC declared September 24 as Meena Day in 1998. Since then, Meena Day is celebrated every year on September 24. The day will be celebrated in Bangladesh like all over the world through various programs.

Meena is a well-known symbol of South Asian girls. He is an agent of social change. A nine-year-old girl's job is to see what's best for everyone. Meena was born in 1992. Even though 30 years have passed, Meena is stuck in those nine years. Dr. MM Maed, founder of jatio rogi kallan Society, a prominent researcher in Bangladesh wrote a column about today's issue...

Meena is a defiant character. Meena is one of the characters against various inconsistencies in the societyStopping child marriage, encouraging the construction and use of sanitary latrines, sending girls to school, giving more importance to school than marrying young girls, stopping dowry, ensuring equal nutrition and facilities for boys and girls is one of the characters to make people aware. He shows himself.

Teach others to do. Mostafa Monwar is the father of this popular cartoon. In 1995, BTV Meena started showing the cartoon. Meena cartoon is made by UNICEF. Meena cartoon is not only made in Bengali language. Meena is available in 29 languages including Hindi, Urdu. Meena, the main character of the cartoon, lives in a small village with her family. Through this character, children's rights, education, culture, entertainment and physical and mental development are depicted. He has highlighted the importance of health-consciousness, environmental-consciousness and education to everyone. And these lines are very familiar to children who grew up in the 90s.

It would be wrong to say that it is only familiar, but there is probably no one who has not grown up listening to this song. These are two lines from the children's favorite Meena cartoon song. Although cartoons are generally made for the entertainment of children, this is an educational cartoon. Through which the various anomalies of the society are highlighted. This cartoon has always produced various awareness episodes especially about the rights of the girl child. We all know about Meena cartoon but not many know how it started.

Meena is seen as the epitome of South Asian girl children. Meena Cartoon is a popular TV cartoon produced in different languages not only in Bangladesh but also in South Asia. Meena cartoons are aired simultaneously in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan every year. But its beginning is in Bangladesh. In the context of Bangladesh, it is planned to make a cartoon image. During the 80s and later 90s, the condition of girls was miserable. At that time there was some progress in the education of girls only in the city.

Most of the girls in the village did not have the right to education. Even in the city, not all girls get the opportunity to study. At that time, everyone thought that girls would take care of the house and family, so they did not need education. They were given in marriage at a young age. Not only that, the bride also had to arrange dowry for her daughter's marriage. Boys were given better food than girls. No one could have thought that girls can improve the country and their family financially in their own capacity.

The sages understood that if this situation does not change, the country and the nation will not be able to move forward. The then South Asian SAARC consisted of seven countries-Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka (later Afghanistan was added). Declared 1990 as the 'Decade of the Girl Child'. Between 1990 and 2000, the dignified social position of girls, especially the rights of underprivileged girls, the establishment of equal rights for girls and boys, and all commitments were made. But implementing these tasks was not so easy, they wanted to do something that would reach out to all types of people and help change their mindset.

Together, these countries decided to do something to protect the rights of girls, which would help change their situation. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) took over. UNICEF thought of creating a character who studies and highlights the importance of education for girls so that parents of girls understand that girls also need to be educated.

Also, there should be no gender discrimination in terms of equal rights.And for awareness, Meena has highlighted issues such as washing hands, using sanitary toilets, what to do during floods, safety of girls, what to do in case of diarrhea in children, prevention of violence against domestic workers in the city and education opportunities, etc., so that self-awareness is awakened in people of all ages, including children.

> Protection of children's rights:-

Child labor, child marriage and drugs must be said 'no' forever to ensure children's rights and safety. Sexual harassment and illiteracy must be suppressed with strict hands. In this case, society, family and related parties are responsible and also the awareness of parents is a prerequisite to protect child rights. Child rights are a multifaceted concept. Ensuring the protection of children from various forms of torture and rights violations, including sexual abuse, is an essential social duty. A large number of our children are growing up in poverty as a large part of the country's population lives below the poverty line. These children are deprived of rights and necessary facilities

Mother and child are inextricably linked. If the mother's rights are protected, the child's rights are largely protected. When a pregnant mother enjoys her full rights during pregnancy, the unborn child also enjoys its rights and protections before birth.

Therefore, the family must play an effective role in protecting the rights and safety of children. Public and private institutions, society, family and individual should work together on the rights and protection of children. All rights and security recognized by the state including safety, housing, food, medical care, education must be ensured. And they must be non-discriminatory.

Children cannot be divided on the basis of economic, religious, gender, caste, physical class. A child will grow properly only if these are fully implemented. The child who will be the leader of our future. And the most child marriages in the world happen in Bangladesh. However, it has started to decrease now.

According to the survey, at least 40 percent of children from poor families are victims of child marriage. 74 lakh children are working in various sectors. 56 lakh children are not covered by any kind of education center. It is not possible for the state alone to take responsibility for all the children. Government has various laws to protect child rights.

They should be more strict in enforcement. Government, civil society and media must work together to bring all the children of the country into the mainstream of development. And every action should be beautiful and cooperative for children. And this is how the accuracy of Meena Day slogans will emerge.

Author, Founder, jatio rogi kallan Society

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