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Small steps for big changes: Samirul’s journey of protecting vulnerable children

By auther pic. Smita Singh

September 6, 2021

Small steps for big changes: Samirul’s journey of protecting vulnerable children

Plan India's COVID Response led by Samirul in West Bengal

Samirul Islam, 38, a changemaker from West Bengal's Murshidabad district, is making a big difference by taking small steps at a time. Samirul was born into a humble family with his father working as a daily wager. Being the eldest among the siblings, he had to take over the responsibility from a very early age.

He began his professional journey as a volunteer at Nehru Yuva Kendra. After two years, he joined the Child in Need organisation and worked there for 8 long years. In 2020 he joined Plan India. Ever since, he has made exceptional efforts to mitigate discrimination concerning issues like gender, caste, HIV, minority status, disabilities etc.

He has been working on the issue of child marriage and establishing community-based child protection systems for the past 14 years. In the year 2020, the Samgra Bal Vikas Mitras (SBVM) assisted in the formation of 96 Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPC) and held 420 training sessions. He was successful in arranging fund of Rs.2,40,000 to train 97 VLCPCs. He has been able to avoid nine child marriages and enrol the children in schools with the help of the block administration. He also leveraged fund for nutrimix (1 quintal 50 kgs) for 43 high risk pregnant mothers in his block. He linked women from schedule caste and BPL families with tailoring government schemes.

Samirul developed a three-tier framework for the adolescent girls at the Panchayat level where they expressed their worries and issues to government authorities. A child monitoring register was also brought into the system, in which children assisted in the tracking of other children in the neighbourhood, ensuring that they were routinely attending schools, visiting ICDS centres, and taking advantage of government schemes. He has also worked for the prevention of child trafficking from his district Bhagwangola and ensured that the victims got justice.

During the pandemic, he, along with a group of volunteers, was involved in relief efforts such as the distribution of dry rations and hygiene kits. He identified various vulnerable groups in 15 Gram Sansads. Migrant workers (60), HIV positive (9), high-risk pregnant and new mothers (132), TB patients (10) and children with impairments (40) were among the beneficiaries during his COVID relief work.

Samirul’s influencing capacity at the block level led Plan India to be selected as the Nodal Organisation for the formation of Kanyashree Clubs in all the schools. He was keen to mention the support he receives from his wife Ameena Khatun, who supports him in all his initiatives and manages the family and the shop business very well. He has a dream that when he leaves the world, the people should remember him and his contributions.

He has impacted over 50,000 lives, most of which are of adolescent girls. In the 4th plan India Impact Awards 2021, Samirul was recognized under the category Best Plan India Frontline Worker (Samgra Bal Vikas Mitras) and Other Project Level Frontline Worker. He has also been recommended by the BDO for an award on behalf of the block administration, however, due to the second wave of COVID-19, the award is still pending.

 

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Author

Smita currently finished her Masters in Economics Major. Being an introvert personality, writing suits best to her. She has vivid experience in the content area from writing research papers to writing content for various websites, blogs & stories. Smita has worked for a Patna based digital marketing company named DigiwaleBabu.

 

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