Srinagar: Dozens of juveniles in conflict with law on Wednesday participated in a unique Children’s Day event here. Boys of different age groups and backgrounds presented their creative talent and skills to the audience at Kashmir’s lone Observation Home for juveniles at Harwan.
The day began with craft and fun activities, including role plays which allowed the children to open up before the guests. It motivated them to present their talent and share stories before senior officials and the chief guest, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi, chairman of the Selection-cum-Oversight Committee, Juvenile Justice Act.
“Our aim is to encourage children towards a better and bright future so that they contribute in a constructive way,” Justice Masoodi said.
He spent many hours with the children and joined them in music and fun activities.
“Love can change everything and everyone. You must become a source of joy and positivity for your families and friends, so that you conquer the world,” the chairman asked the children to pledge.
This year, the administration of the Observation Home decided to celebrate Children’s Day (November 14) as the start of a series of sports and fun events through the year. Today’s event was conducted by a child welfare organisation, Arnimaal.
Most of the boys showed zeal in performing before the audience and expressed joy at the activities.
One of the boys from north Kashmir, who was enrolled in a middle school before coming to the Observation Home, said that he wants to play cricket and represent Kashmir at the international level.
“My dream of becoming an international cricketer is big, but there is no playground at this home. How can I practise the sport?” he asked.
Other boys were equally enthusiastic about sports and music activities they performed. One of them sang an Urdu song, like a professional singer, while others joined him in chorus. The youngest of all the boys danced on the tunes of his song, which won him huge applauds and a cash prize of Rs 500 from the chief guest.
“Our aim of organising the Children’s Day event is to allow children to express themselves, so that they learn team work and channelise their anger and energy positively,” said Kalpana Tikku, founder of Arnimaal.
“We intend to work on reforms and rehabilitation of children in conflict with law, with the aim of reintegrating them back successfully in society. Conducting activities with them and keeping them engaged in a constructive manner is important. One of the reasons behind this is that we want the children to feel a sense of belonging and accountability towards their home,” she said.
According to her, such events and workshops will provide a kind of therapy to children and help them enhance their interpersonal skills.
Yusra Rasool, the superintendent of the Observation Home, said children were taken care of in the best possible way at the home.
“These children need motivation and encouragement so that they learn what they have been bereft of,” she said.
Yusra, who joined the facility a year ago, said the observation home was taking care of 23 children in conflict with law.
“Most of them are in the age group of 16 to 18 and are accused of different offences. They need special observation and support, including legal and psychological support, which we are trying to provide to them,” she said.
The function concluded with a cake-cutting ceremony during which gifts were distributed among the children.