Kozhikode: Thirty teenagers, half of them girls, from various children's homes here are set to break a social taboo on the Republic Day. For the first time in the state, they would be marching alongside the police, fire force and other security forces at the Republic Day parade at Vikram maidan, West Hill, here on Saturday. As a joint initiative of the juvenile wing of the Kozhikode city police and women and child department, these teens aged 14 to 16 are being trained at the Vellimadukunnu campus ground and Vikram maidan for the past 25 days.
“The motive behind choosing kids from the children's homes is to integrate them into the mainstream society, giving them a feeling that they are also equally part of this society. Such efforts will instil more responsibility among the children and help to motivate them and build self-confidence. They also have the same rights and in no way should be sidelined. By incorporating them in such major events we are helping them imbibe the spirit of patriotism too,” said city police commissioner K Sanjay Kumar Gurudin.
Fifteen students from government children's home for girls Vellimadukunnu, nine from government children's home for boys, also from Vellimadukunnu, and six boys from Free Birds (another shelter home), near Mavoor road, are the chosen ones. They will be parading on the ground in a special uniform including white trousers, white T-shirt, white shoes and blue cap, said district child protection officer (DCPO) Joseph Rebellow.
“We no longer want to confine them to the institution. The department is also considering making special units in the children's homes in line with the student police cadets (SPC). It is also essential for the children's overall development, including moulding their character,” said Rebellow.
Thirty children, inmates of the Vellimadukunnu homes (15 girls and 15 boys), took out a parade in their campus for the first time during the last Independence Day. They were trained by juvenile wing officer Ratheesh Puthiyakavu. Sub-judge and District Legal Services Authority secretary M P Jayaraj, who was the chief guest at the ceremony, was impressed by their performance and supported the move to include them in a major public event, so that they can exhibit their skills too.
“They themselves had arranged the parade on Independence Day. We felt that these children should be given a better platform to exhibit their skills. The DCPO as well as the sub- judge supported the thought. By training them we aim at the intellectual, physical as well as mental health development,” he added.