Islamabad: BISP, the custodian of 5.6 million families across the country and having a countrywide outreach through 450 offices and a vast network of 60,000 Beneficiary Committees, offers its platform to all the celebrities, organizations and institutions to work for the cause of child protection.

This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP, MNA MarviMemon during the countrywide launch of ‘BISP Child Protection Campaign’ at BISP Headquarters, Islamabad.

The campaign was simultaneously launched in 40 districts across the country by BISP officials and parliamentarians who would advance the campaign in their constituencies.

Interior Minister, Mr. AhsanIqbal in Narowal, Ch. Mohammad Ashraf in Sahiwal, Ms. Tahira Aurangzeb in Rawalpindi, Ms. NighatParveen in Jhelum, Ms. AsyiaNazTanoli in WahCantt., Ms.FarhanaQamar and Ms. Zahra WadoodFatemiin Islamabad, Dr. ShezraMansib Ali Khan in Nankana Sahib, RanaMohammadQasim Noon in Multan, Ch. Mahmood Bashir Virk in Gujranwala, Mr. Rasheed Ahmed Khan in Kasur, Ms. NaeemaKishwar Khan in Mardan, Begum TahiraBukhari in Peshawar, Mr. Babar Nawaz in Haripur and Ms. SorathThebo in Dadu launched BISP Child Protection Campaign. Secretary BISP Mr. Omar Hamid Khan, Mr. Faisal Qureshi, Mr. Hassan Soomro and Ms. SabahatRiaz also spoke on the event in Islamabad.

Video messages of Ms. Nadia Jamil and Ms. Dahim Din were also run. BISP beneficiary mothers, children, Members of Parliament, Academia, Civil Society, Media, various INGOs and NGOs working on child protection like Sahil, UNICEF, UN Women, Oxfam International and others participated in the campaign.

During the event, BISP beneficiary women and children were sensitized through training on issues of child protection, children’s rights and ways to ensure security of children through video documentaries, IEC (Information, Education & Communication) material and animated and illustrative messaging.

Different aspects of child protection, role of parents, teachers, leaders, government, responsible members of society, legal procedures regarding child protection were discussed.

The campaign also highlighted different methods to inform children on the issue. Children were also trained to undertake the strategy of “shout, run and inform the parents” in the situation of any kind of abuse.

In his opening remarks, Secretary BISP stated that besides various initiatives for the welfare of beneficiaries, BISP has launched this campaign to sensitize parents and children on the issue child protection as children are future of any nation.

He explained in detail the precautions parents should take for the safety of their children. Mr. Faisal Qureshi said that saving children from any abuse is the prime responsibility of parents.

He suggested that besides seeking assistance from government and law enforcement agencies, mothers in every community can make committees and take up matters of child abuse with the elders of the community to overcome this problem. Mr. Hassan Soomro said that awareness of children about the body parts is very necessary and in schools there must be a compulsory subject on this issue.

He informed that in Sindh, this subject would be made compulsory from April 2018 and same should be done in the rest of country. Ms. SabahatRiaz said that laws relating to child protection are present in the country but there is a need to create awareness about these laws and procedures. She explained the legal procedures which should be adopted by parents to get help in case of any child abuse.

In her concluding remarks, Chairperson BISP said that BISP on behalf of Federal Government has initiated this campaign for the safety of our children and as a next step these trainings would be imparted to 60,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees across the country which would create mass level awareness on the subject.

She added that BISP has set up a hotline 0800-26477 as part of this campaign for receiving complaints of abuse against children and direct them to relevant agencies for actions.