Illustration – Josh Kochran/ NY Times

May. A month that is synonymous with summer vacations for children and parents in India. In addition to trips to the hometown or the annual hill station retreat, this month comprises a couple of significant dates for children—the International Day of Families observed on 15th May and Missing Child Day observed on 25th May. Chronicling various topics and perspectives around these dates are a few headlines listed below. Recapture the month that was with these headlines in the May edition of #WhatsInAHeadline

1. Manipur’s prevailing communal tension spells doom for children

Manipur’s Education Minister, Th Bashanta Singh, reported the unfortunate displacement of 4700 children owing to the rising communal violence in the state. While the department was arranging for books, pens and other school essentials for the displaced children, it did not emphasize on the urgency of the situation and the need for concrete steps towards protection and restoration of Manipur’s children.

2. A booklet on post-rescue lives of missing children reveals shocking statistics

The NGO Child Rights and You, better known as CRY released a booklet based on post-rescue lives of missing children on the eve of International Missing Children’s Day. While the booklet includes case stories of survivors from four states of North India, it is the unheard-of statistics that has raised alarm bells. In a summary of the NGO’s analysis of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, Madhya Pradesh reported highest number of missing children – 11607 – in the country, in the year 2021. To put the number in perspective, the number meant that every day 31 kids went missing in the state during the year. More worrying is the fact that 81% of the missing children were girls, who face a long-term impact in their life.

3. Children to be safeguarded in the Digital India Bill

In a continuation of the numerous news articles reporting the inclusion of child safety in the Digital India Bill, this headline adds to the bright prospects. Slated to release sometime in the first week of June, the draft of the bill will have special provisions for safeguarding children. Set to protect the data of minors and regulating addictive tech, the bill will introduce new norms, in tune with the new age.

4. Indian corporations steps in to offer support for parents and caregivers of children with special needs

In a refreshing change from the regular, Indian companies like Procter & Gamble India, Accenture, Cognizant, Cisco, and Tata Power are seen rolling out initiatives to help employees whose children have autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dyslexia, etc. This move is hailed as a step forward in not only supporting the parents, guardians and caregivers, but also contributing to the overall familial development which is of utmost importance to children with special needs.

4. A spell of Sukoon in Mumbai’s Family Court

A family is not always pleasant stories and heartening tales, on occasions it is a series of bitter battles playing out in the courts of justice. One such court is Mumbai’s Family Court that witnesses broken families everyday. To spell some sukoon, or tranquility, in the confines of these rooms, the eponymous organization carried out workshops on the occasion of International Day of Families. With the target of showing the silver lining belying the darkest of clouds, these workshops are needed more and aplenty especially in places like a “family” court.

6. Reforming our families for our children

While the International Day of Families merits a slew of happy faces, it is also marred with negative news about betrayed partners and unending feuds. In this day and age when mental health of every individual is seeing it’s limits stretched and relief is far and less, one looks at one’s family. Do the new-age families, however, help? Or do they need reform?
Discussing these interesting perspectives is this article that elaborates on the need for woman-led, child-focused and elderly-sensitive families.