Project Blue Ribbon: Here’s How Two Friends-Vrinda and Simran are committed to fight against child abuse

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Vrinda, founder of Project Blue Ribbon

“ There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul.
Than the way in which it treats its children.”
                                                           — Nelson Mandela

Children are the future of our society, still they remain the most vulnerable citizens in our nation. Despite major protection laws in India, child abuse remains one of the most aggravated, yet neglected crime in the country.

Every second child faces abuse in some or the other forms – whether it be physical, psychological, sexual or neglect.

Taking a step forward to help spread awareness about this, Vrinda Singh — a 3rd-year Political Science student of Loreto College, Kolkata along with her friend  Simran Bhaskar — a 4th-year B.A, L.L.B student of UPES, Dehradun recently co-founded ‘Project Blue Ribbon’.

Vrinda,founder of project blue ribbon

Project Blue Ribbon aims at spreading awareness about child abuse, helping them raise their voice, thereby protecting their rights.

Project Blue Ribbon Logo
Project Blue Ribbon Logo

They have done a lot of national as well as international collaborations that have helped them spread the word.

Vrinda and her friend Simran highlights the major obstacle they face is making the victims speak up since the parents want to keep such matters confined to the four walls of the house.

At such an early age, they manage it well without compromising with their academics. Both of them seek inspiration from their mothers who manage household chores along with their professional lives.

In an exclusive interview with DehradunTales, Vrinda mentions:

Children are the future of our nation and thus its really important to give them a safe and secure upbringing.”
DehradunTales congratulates both of them for the initiative and wishes them all the luck and success in the future.
Read the entire interview of Vrinda and Simran to find out what made them start the project, the challenges they came across, and a lot more.

Q. Before going into the details of the project, please tell us about yourself.

My name is Vrinda Singh. I am a 3rd-year Political Science Honors student from Loreto College, Kolkata.

Founder of project blue ribbon,Vrinda

I am a firm believer that it is the responsibility of the youth in any society to bring the necessary changes along with the social, economic, and environmental developments.

Since my school days, I have been actively involved in social work and would like to continue to do so and raise awareness about Child Rights and Child Abuse through the platform of our organization.

Q. Tell us about Project Blue Ribbon and what it is all about?

Project Blue Ribbon is a youth-based organization that raises awareness on Child Maltreatment.

The impact of child maltreatment can be profound. Many types of research show that any abused or neglected child suffers greater mental health damage rather than physical health damage.

Project blue ribbon

Thus our main aim is to make people aware of the different kinds of abuses, how to prevent such abuses from happening, and most importantly how to help a victim overcome that trauma.

Q. How did you conceive the idea of working against Child Maltreatment and did you face any struggle on the initial level?

During my college days, I attended several webinars and seminars on Child Abuse, Child Rights, Sexual Abuse with children and also heard many experienced people talk about their experiences.

Many of my friends and classmates also spoke about their experiences and that’s when I realized that the most disturbing fact was that many of the abusers were not even reported and even the family members of the abused did not support them.

That’s when I realized that it’s really important to make people understand the importance of speaking up and also make them understand that one such horrific incident leaves an impact on the abused which they carry with themselves throughout their lives.

So, one day Simran called me to talk about one such case on Child Pornography which involved a three months old baby. After speaking to her for almost an hour we decided to start this project.

At the initial level, the problem that we are facing is that people are resistant to come up and talk about their experiences. They still feel that it will harm the reputation of their families. This is exactly where we want to bring a change.

We want to make people understand the importance of speaking up and reporting the abuser.

Q. According to you, what is the root cause of the prevalent child abuse in society and your views on different kinds of child abuses?

One of the root causes of Child Abuse is poverty i.e., inability to provide your child with proper education, housing, medical attention, and a safe and secure environment.

Illiteracy is another factor due to which people are unaware of Child Rights. Some of the people are not even aware of the different rights prescribed in our Constitution and IPC against different forms of Child Abuses and Child Trafficking.

Also, one of the major factors behind Child Abuse is neglect and the resistance to speak up which is mostly noticed in the case of Child Sexual Abuse.

There are mainly four kinds of Child Abuses:

Firstly, Physical Abuse is the intentional use of force against the child that results in harm of a child’s health, survival, development, or dignity.

Secondly, there is Sexual Abuse which is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.

Thirdly, Psychological Abuse is a non-accidental, verbal or symbolic act by a child’s parent or caregiver that results in significant psychological harm to a child.

Then there is neglect and child trafficking as well.

As I said an abused suffers greater mental health damage than physical health damage which can lead to depression, difficulties with trust, withdrawal from school, lack of development, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, personality disorder, and various other such issues.

Thus, it’s vital for people to understand the importance of preventing such abuses from happening.

Q. In a country like India, what measures would you suggest in order to tackle such an issue?

I think the main cause of child abuse in India is poverty and illiteracy. Thus, the policymakers can conduct various programs and plays which would be an easier method to reach out to the illiterate population.

Also, various training programs should be made compulsory in schools and colleges to gain knowledge about the different kinds of abuses and how to prevent such abuses from happening both for the parents and children.

Also, awareness programs should be conducted for people to make them aware of their rights and privileges.

Various programs should be arranged that teach parenting skills for new parents. Proper execution of laws should be checked from time to time. These are some of the steps that can be taken.

Q. How do you manage the organization along with your studies?

It’s not easy at all. But I think what makes it easier is the fact that I’m passionate to work for the society and try and make a difference somehow.

Definitely, managing studies as well as this project has been difficult but I think having an interest and passion towards something makes us work ten times harder.

Q. Have you collaborated with any national or international human rights activists or organizations?

We recently collaborated with Donate a Smile Foundation which is a great platform that is not just oriented to one issue but a lot of social issues prevalent in our society.

We are fully packed with various national and international collaborations in the month of October.

Q. How is the response from society at large?

The response that we got has been really positive and supportive. Many people appreciated us for the work that we are doing.

Many people even came up to us to become a part of this project.  We are receiving a lot of support and acknowledgment from people.

Q. What could be our contribution at the individual level and at the level of the policymakers/government to curb this issue?

There are a lot of steps that people can take to prevent any such abuse from happening. I think it’s really important in today’s generation to be active online. Even the smallest information can prove to be helpful.

The policymakers can also take various steps. Various support programs can be arranged for new parents. Treatment programs can be conducted for abused victims.

Also, I think such training programs should be made mandatory in every school and college for children as well as parents to impart knowledge about such kinds of abuses and how to prevent such abuses from happening.

There are enough laws for the rights of children in our constitution, but proper execution of such laws is the need of the hour.

Parents play a major role in their child’s life. Thus, they should never leave them unattended and teach their children to speak up.

Lastly, I think one of the most helpful steps that we can take to prevent such abuses is by sharing our knowledge with our friends, family and loved ones and make the society around us safe and secure.

Q. What are your immediate future plans and where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

After my 3rd-year exams, I want to pursue masters. I don’t know where or what I would be 10 years down the line. But I just hope I am independent, continuing to work for the society and traveling.

Q. Who is your role model or source of inspiration and what is their contribution to your journey?

My role model is my mother. She’s a teacher. I am what I am today because of her and the values that she has instilled in me.

Her dedication towards her work is what inspires me the most. The way she handles both her work and our home is something which I believe is really difficult but she does it like it’s the easiest thing to do.

Also, she’s an amazing cook and I hope that someday, I could cook half as good as her.

Q. Your message to the readers of DehradunTales?

I would like to encourage all the readers to support us and help us stand against Child Maltreatment and raise awareness regarding the same.

Visit our Instagram page @project.blue.ribbon and help us raise our voices against such abuses.

“Children are the future of our nation and thus its really important to give them a safe and secure upbringing.”

Also Read: Full Interview of Simran, Co-Founder of Project Blue Ribbon

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