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CWIN: 25 years with children and for children in Nepal
In November CWIN – Child Workers of Nepal Concerned Centre – celebrated its 25 years anniversary. Children and VIP guests alike met to celebrate the many achievements of CWIN and the idea of child rights.
CWIN celebrated their first 25 years of existence for many good reasons. Tens of thousands of childfren and youth in Nepal have had their lives improved as a result of programs and policy efforts by the many committed activists in CWIN. The organization has been partner with FORUT since 1994.
The booklet “25 Glorious Years of CWIN-Nepal” outlines the philosophy and many fields of CWIN activities.
More information can be found here at the CWIN web site. The web site also has a series of pictures from the 25th Anniversary programs. Some of the pictures are shown below here.
It was in 1987 when Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN) issued its first newsletter outlining a vision for the children of Nepal. Digressing from the normative notion of children as recipients of charity, CWIN framed child rights as a process of social transformation.
For the first time in Nepal children were recognized as powerful agents of social change and a group of citizens that should be empowered rather than silenced. For the first time children were considered contributors and partners in the human rights movement – they were a source of inspiration and learning for the young CWIN organization.
CWIN was, and remains today, a voice for children. It strongly believes in the philosophy of empowerment and inclusion as reflected in its motto ‘For Children, With Children’. CWIN advocates that the issue of child rights is not and cannot be treated in isolation to other social, economic and political structures. It must be considered as a part of a broader social environment, one where institutional violence tends to neglect, suppress or ignore the voices of children.
Alcohol and drugs as a child rights issue
This is one of the reasons why CWIN for many of the 25 years has addressed alcohol and drugs as a child rights issue. Another reason is that the pioneers of CWIN soon realized that alcohol and drug use lie behind many of the problems that their target populations experienced, not the least street children and trafficked children. This may be drinking and drug use by family members, but also substance use by marginalized children themselves.
The organization has, as part of its alcohol and drug programs, been instrumental in the establishing of the Nepal Alcohol Policy Alliance recently. CWIN leaders are also active members of the task force established by the Nepali government to develop a new national alcohol policy.
One million children
Since its inception, CWIN internalized the aspirations of children and resolved to create enabling environments conducive to the realization of their rights. In the last 25 years CWIN has directly worked for the protection of more than one million children in Nepal through innovative, unique and meaningful programs of action. The foundation and success of the child rights movement can be attributed to CWIN’s genuine approach to child participation.
Child participation is not merely a symbolic gesture or a superficial slogan. For CWIN, real, engaged and meaningful child participation is a process. This process imparts knowledge and skills and creates a safe space for children to voice their concerns, and for these concerns to be heard.
Building on this vision, the children and youth CWIN engage with are viewed upon as invaluable resources for the child rights movement. Recognized as rights holders, they are inevitably and invariably CWIN’s teachers. Working directly with children at a grassroots level, especially in the formative years, is a huge learning experience for CWIN and the entire child rights movement.
For Child, With Children
CWIN’s sustained vision is to convert these lessonsinto policy, thereby instigating positive changes in the lives of children. In the face of challenges from state authorities, law enforcement agencies and society, a belief in children and the mutual trust fostered gives CWIN the conviction to carry on. Having introduced a fresh approach to social work in Nepal, one that defies the convention of charity, CWIN’s child rights movement heralds a new era of rights, empowerment and activism – For Child, With Children.