South Asia

Category Archives: Project News

Human Rights Council Resolution on Child Rights and the Environment

We are pleased to share with you that the UN Human Rights Council formally adopted a Resolution on Child Rights and the Environment last week. The CERI team is really delighted to have played a key role in delivering this result. Check out our blog on the resolution’s key takeaways and share the good news!

Draft Principles & Policy Guidance for the ASEAN region on child rights and the environment

Following our regional consultation last October, we’ve been delighted to support some exciting follow-up work on child rights and the environment being led by the regional offices of OHCHR, UNEP and UNICEF. During a dedicated workshop in July, a team of adult and youth ASEAN experts came together to develop draft principles for the ASEAN region on child rights and the environment. The organizing team is now calling for inputs on these draft guidelines and policy guidance for implementing them, and we invite you to submit your feedback and amplify the call on social media. Submissions are due by 23 October.

#OurPlanetMyFutureMyRights Webinar for children and youth in ASEAN

To ensure that children and youth from all ASEAN countries have an opportunity to fully contribute to finalizing the ASEAN principles, UNEP, UNICEF, OHCHR, UNMGCY, UNEP MGCY, Asia Pacific Youth Caucus and ASEAN Youth Organization are organizing a dedicated #OurPlanetMyFutureMyRights webinar on 16 October, 16:00-17:30 ICT-Bangkok. It is hoped that the webinar will contribute to a draft statement from ASEAN children and youth calling on ASEAN Member States to take action, in accordance with the draft policy guidance, to guarantee and protect children’s rights to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Please share widely through your networks, and encourage children and youth to participate (registration form here)!

Global CSO campaign on recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment

A global CSO Call for global recognition of the right to a healthy environment has received over 900 endorsements! We are particularly delighted that the call strongly emphasises child rights, incorporating text put forward by CERI.

Please help us reach 1000 endorsements by signing up and sharing/promoting this call through your networks, using the #HealthyEnvironment4All or amplifying us on Twitter.

CRC Reporting Guidance

We’re delighted to share new guidance on reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with respect to children’s environmental rights. The guidance is intended to support civil society organizations with shadow reporting, as well as States, UN agencies and other relevant actors. It is also relevant for reporting to other human rights treaty bodies on these issues, and includes a section on reporting under other relevant international environmental and development frameworks too. Please don’t hesitate to share this widely with your networks!


COVID 19 Awareness Program in Afghanistan

Due to global outbreaks of Corona Virus (COVID 19), our project teams in Afghanistan prepared and handed out over 150 PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) to Herat Public Health Department, which will be used for patients. Over and above this hygiene kits are also being distributed to students in Gozara, Karokh, Enjil and Kush-e-Robat Sangi districts in the Herat province. Awareness programs have also been organized in these regions to help people understand how to stay safe.

The Corona virus is spreading very fast among the people of Afghanistan, at the time of updating this report – there are 367 positive cases of COVID 19 in Afghanistan, 240 cases in Herat and 127 cases are in other provinces of Afghanistan. There is also an influx of refugees and the situation might require further intervention in the times to come.


Helping children and their families survive the lockdown

India is going through a complete lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and while most of us are safe at home adjusting to this new way of life – many homeless, migrant people, daily wage labourers and their children across our country are struggling for survival. In situations where even basic food is a challenge – children are obviously the most vulnerable.

Terre des hommes is working through on ground partners across the country to reach out to the most marginalized families and their children. Over the last few days we have been distributing food materials and hygiene packs to ensure that families have enough to see them through for the next few weeks.

Following all social distancing and safety norms – under the guidance of project staff – many children’s and youth groups have been promoting awareness and teaching their communities how to keep safe.

Young girls who are trained in stitching have also started sewing masks as per government specifications to provide to communities who cannot afford to buy any.

Project teams have also been working with government officials and the police force to ensure materials and information is distributed efficiently.


Standing for children in these difficult times.

Key child rights agencies in the country come together in these difficult times to stand for children. The Joining Forces India team has submitted an appeal for the most Vulnerable  Children amid COVID 19, addressed to the Prime Minister on India , with copy to the key National Ministries and Government  Institutions and Child Rights Commission. We are hopeful that this would have a positive outcome and bring into effect measures that children need desperately at these point. You can read the appeal here.


Appeal to the Prime Minister of India

Joining Forces – an alliance of six international child rights organizations – terre des hommes, Plan, SOS Children’s Villages, Child Fund, World Vision and Save the Children, have made an appeal to the Prime Minister of India to ensure children are kept safe, protected and provided with the basic necessities to fight this crisis. You can read the appeal here.


The voice of the future

Every year to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – children and youth from terre des hommes’ International Youth Network get together in the month of November and raise their voices for their rights. This year is no exception. Read about this amazing initiative on https://www.gam-tdh.org/


Joining Forces for Children – India, an alliance of the six leading child-focused organisations

Joining Forces for Children – India, an alliance of the six leading child-focused organisations including Terre des hommes launched a report earlier this year which acknowledges the glaring gaps that still exist in child rights in the country. As part of a series of regional launches – the report was formally unveiled in Bhopal on 22nd August, 2019. The event saw attendance from local media and charities and highlighted some of the main issues that plague children’s rights in India.

Covered on:

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2019/08/22/mp-worst-performer-on-child-rights-indicators-report.htm




Meet Pondiselvi. A child bride yesterday. A confident and independent woman today.

Young Pondiselvi was married at the tender age of 17 years. That’s because in the tiny village of  Viralimalai in the Pudukkottai District of Tamil Nadu where she hails from, the community considers girls to be a burden and gets them married off as soon as possible. By the time Pondiselvi was 25, she was already a mother of three and struggling to make ends meet on her husband’s meager wages.

Similar to many like her, Pondiselvi was determined to change her life: there had to be a way out of the continuous cycle of poverty. Terre des Hommes supported project Sumangali BMZ-C&A (implemented by project partners CARE T and READ Foundation) gave her just that opportunity. When the project team met Pondiselvi during a survey and offered support, she jumped at the opportunity. Fighting all odds she enrolled into one of the project’s programs and started training as a tailor.

The next year was hard. Pondiselvi could only make time for her course when her two older children were at school and would have to take her infant son with her to training sessions. The project staff was very encouraging, motivating Pondiselvi to finish her course. When she did, the Sumangali program provided a loan to start her off on her very own tailoring business.

Today, this young mother runs a successful business in her community. She is a respected tailor and earns enough to supplement the family income and ensure that her children have a better life.

There are many young women like Pondiselvi who still need help and are just waiting for a chance similar to the one Pondiselvi got. Terre des Hommes works across the country to ensure these women and their children get a better life.


Kalikot in Nepal prospers through green entrepreneurs

Under the auspices of the Green Enterprise initiative, walnut (Juglans regia), lemon (Citrus limon) and mausami (Citrus limetta) farming in Kalikot Village is successfully combining sustainable utilisation of natural resources with small entrepreneurship in the Himalayan region.

The project originated in March 2018 when Kalikot-based HuRENDEC Nepal consulted with the District Forest Office and the Kalikot Chamber of Commerce to assess the potential for green enterprise. With farming identified as an ideal means to support livelihoods in the densely forested and richly biodiverse upper parts of Kalikot district, the next step was to find suitable entrepreneurs.

A group of CBOs are asked to rank themselves on their social and economic status, to identify the poorest and most excluded households. The ranking identified four very poor individuals as potential entrepreneurs to implement livelihood support initiatives.

The project provided a NRs 109,000 (approximately €1,000) enterprise grant. Among the beneficiaries is Jay Bhadur Mahotara from Kalikot village, who grows walnut, lemon and mausami. Jay says, “The idea of farming had been previously presented to me. But without any external support, I was unable to start a green business. Look at me now: through the support of TDH/BMZ Germany, I supply my produce to villages all over and outside the district. I was unemployed earlier, now I have earned NRs 50,000 by selling my produce in the market as well as to my neighbours.

Pankha Mahotara, a neighbour, says “With the help of farming tips taught from Jay, I have started cultivating the softwood tree, grown and used worldwide for medicinal purposes. Both its timber and fruit are useful.”

By encouraging green enterprise and the creation of livelihood improvement plans, the project is helping to ensure livelihood security for communities that live in and around protected areas. Green Enterprise also promotes sustainability, by helping decrease the haphazard exploitation of natural resources.


Sayed Habibullah’s transformative journey towards education and peace in Kabul, Afghanistan

Sayeed Habibullah Jamail just graduated from high school. In most countries, this milestone would have been a cause for celebration, but also an expected step in life’s journey. For Sayeed, a student of Abdul Ali Mastaghni High School in Kabul, Afghanistan, it has been dangerous, arduous and not without pain and loss.

Sayeed comes from a very poor family. His father Kamaluddin, unable to read and write even their native language, was keen Sayeed became an educated member of society. “If you study well, you will have a better life in the future and also be of service to your community”, Kamaluddin counselled his son.

Notwithstanding the family’s financial situation, Sayeed had a happy early childhood. That changed when he lost his father to a suicide attack in Abol Fazal cemetery in Kabul, in which Sayeed came close to losing his own life.  After his father’s death, the family’s situation worsened. Sayeed looked for employment, but with little work available and low wages it was difficult to provide the family even with regular daily meals. Working hard to battle these challenges and somehow support the family became his daily life. “I felt helpless and hopeless”, Sayeed remembers.

In 2012, Sayeed was enroute to Faryab when a terrorist group invited him to join them. When Sayeed declined – it was a suicide attack which had killed his father – they tortured him and forced him to join them. They started teaching him to use weapons and how to fight. His habits began to change day by day; he started to become hardened and brutal.  After a year, and desperately missing home, Sayeed managed to escape. He spent many days and nights on the road, running and hiding, until finally reaching home. Reunited with family, Sayeed was happy again, despite continuing to be tormented by memories of his time in the terrorist camp.

2013 marked a new beginning for Sayeed. He started school in Faryab. After some time in Faryab, he returned to Kabul and switched to a school there. In Kabul, Sayeed came into contact with Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV), a tdh South Asia partner organization. They treated him with love and kindness and welcomed him to the APV family. This made Sayeed feel happy and secure, and made him realize he was not alone. The APV teachers helped him to look past the bad times and start a new life. Five years on from that time, Sayeed proudly graduated from high school.

Given his journey, Graduation Day unsurprisingly had a special significance for Sayeed. “Being at this school brought back happy memories of my childhood. It also reminds me of my father’s words. Graduation Day for me means graduating into a world free of violence, which has always been my dream. Having lived through horrific experiences, I am now optimistic and hopeful. I hope to become a doctor and serve my people. I also want to be a peace activist and bring real and everlasting peace to the people of Afghanistan.”