Short report on Seminar held on 24 October 2018 at Mumbai

A Seminar on “How to Handle Addicted Children” and “Juvenile Justice Alliance Meet” was organized on 24 October 2018 at Don Bosco Provincial House by Don Bosco Balprafulta. 65 participants from 27 Child Care Institutions from Mumbai took part in this meeting. Fr. Thomas Koshy, Secretary - Don Bosco YaR Forum, presided the seminar and was moderated by Fr. Gregory Almeida, Director – Shelter Don Bosco, Mumbai.

In the first half of the day, Fr. Xavier Devdass and Dr. Sunita Shanbaug took a session on Handling Children addicted to drugs, alcohol, substance, marijuana etc”. Dr. Sunita Shanbaug spoke from the medical perspective and explained about the symptoms of addiction, its effects on health and behavioral changes. Fr. Xavier, Director, Maria Ashiana Therapy Education and Research Society,elaborated what age group of addicts he is handling, the services rendered to them, problems in handling them, the technics & methodology he uses etc. He encouraged the participants to give his contact details to the addicts they come across so that the addicts can be benefitted.

In the post lunch session, Fr. Koshy explained the participants about history of Juvenile Justice Alliance (JJA). He pointed out that the earlier version of JJA which is Juvenile Justice National Desk (JJND) was floated since there was a call from the floor to have such a common platform in a National level consultation on Child Rights.

The participants who were divided into four groups jotted down the problems and issues faced by CCIs. Once they were done two person from each group presented the problems identified. Dr. Asha Mukundan, Asst. Prof at Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) summarized that most of the problems identified by the participants can only be solved by working together. Vijayashankar, National Coordinator – JJA said that the problems identified by the participants were not unique to Maharashtra and pointed that they were somewhat identical to the problems faced by CCIs in other states. He urged them to work under one common platform so that their issues can be voiced louder in the same tone so that it will be easy to lobby with the Maharashtra government and assured that JJA will help them to coordinate with similar forums in other state so that advocacy can be done also at the national level.

At the end of the meeting the participants agreed to work under a common umbrella named “Mumbai Fraternity Forum” (MFF), agreed to meet again in a few months’ time and to strengthen the forum by bringing in CCI’s who were absent to the next meeting.