Arjumand Makhdoomi Chotay Tarey Foundation : Kashmir’s Emerging Champion of Child Rights

The War at Line Of Control has affected Children on both sides of Cease Fire more than anyone else. Pakistan Prime Minister goes on international platform to crib on atrocities on Kashmiri , he never completes his statement ….Atrocities on Kashmir brought by his terrorists and their guns.

Safiya Lone | Baramulla , Jammu & Kashmir India
Taare Zameen Par | Every Child is Special

Kashmir valley has seen a tremendous human suffering for last three decades, which have had disproportionately disastrous impact on children. The raging violence of last thirty years have rendered thousands of Kashmiri children orphaned, poor and destitute in addition to severely impacting their physical, mental and psychological well- being. Today thousands of Kashmiri children, especially those from poor families are prone to physical disability, mental illness and destitution, which hampers their proper growth and development as a mentally and physically healthy citizens of future Kashmir. It was under these dire conditions and circumstances, that few youth of Kashmir took upon themselves the task of providing safe and healthy environment to children of Kashmir, who come from poor families, so that they can be groomed well and as a result, they will be in a position in the future, where they will get a fair chance at competing with others in their lives. Arjumand Makhdoomi is one such brave and inspiring individual, who in the year 2000 decided to lay foundation of “Chotay Tarey Foundation”, with focus on Child rights and protection of children, especially those children with physical and mental disabilities. The aim was to provide a safe and healthy atmosphere to poor children of Kashmir, especially hose from poor and disadvantaged families, so that they can get proper tools and training to excel in their future lives.

The work done by Chotay Taray Foundation soon got recognition and funding by New Delhi based prestigious child rights organization called CRY ( CHILD RIGHTS & YOU ) under whose patronage, Arjumand Makhdoomi worked for 8 years (2005-2013) on several projects as a project head handling various responsibilities in implementation of different projects of CRY in Kashmir valley. His focus remained mainly on Srinagar and Budgam districts of Kashmir valley, where he undertook completion of several projects under the umbrella of CRY, including liaising with various government departments and NGO for different child welfare projects pertaining to health, nutrition, birth certification, disability certification etc. He also helped in devising and implementing several teacher trainings programs on child welfare in both Srinagar and Budgam districts. Even though the focus of Arjumand Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation was mainly on child rights, his foundation also worked towards women and empowerment and education of girl child in Srinagar and Budgam districts of Kashmir valley.

In 2014, the hard work done by Arjumand Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation got further boost, when it for the first time got associated with UNICEF for a four-month project called “Taalash survey” on out of school children in Kashmir valley. As a project manager of this project funded by the UNICEF, Arjumand Makhdoomi among other things helped in carrying out baseline survey of schools and other educational institutes of Hardapanzoo village of Budgam district.

Arjun Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation’s ties got cemented with the UNICEF when in 2015, his foundation got a major project by UNICEF on “Capacity building as per the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act”. The project when was carried out from September 2015 to February 2016 mainly pertained to impartation of training to special police officers working for the juvenile justice system in Kashmir valley as well as preparation and distribution of IEC materials to all 34 police stations of Srinagar and Budgam district.

The association and work of Arjumand Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation with the UNICEF was further carried forward and strengthened through two other major projects that the UNICEF assigned to his foundation. The first of these two projects went on from July 2016 to September 2016 and pertained to digitalization of household survey for Budgam district in Kashmir valley and Samba district in Jammu region. As a project head, Arjumund Makhdoomi was responsible for carrying out and collection of data information from nearly 1.7 Lakh house holds in twin districts of Budgam and Samba and centralization of the data from both these districts. The second project assigned by the UNICEF to Arjumand Makhdoom’s Chotay Tarey foundation went on from December 2017 to March 2018 and pertained to the creation of children friendly spaces in Srinagar district, the need for which arose after the violence and unrest of 2016 protests in Kashmir valley.

As part of its work and association with CRY, UNICEF and even NITI AYOOG, Arjumand Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation has also been organizing seminars and conferences on training and implementation of various projects under Juvenile Justice Act. In recognition of the great and inspiring work done by Arjumund Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation, both have received many honors and accolades from various government departments and non-government organizations which include awards and recognition from Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, J&K academy of Art, Culture and Languages, UNICEF and 117 BN, CRPF Srinagar and J&K state level award for social reforms on republic day on 26 th January in 2018.

Chotay Tarey foundation has also been honored by being bestowed with the membership of several prestigious J&K based advisory boards and committees, including J&K State Coordination Committee under Persons and Disabilities Act, 1998, State Advisory Board under J&K Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act 2013 and J&K State Advisory board on Disability. Arjumand Makhdoomi and his Chotay Tarey Foundation are indeed doing an inspiring work in the filed of child welfare and child right protection and deserve all the appreciation and honor that comes in their way.

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