Bhopal, Nov 11  In a bid to strengthen the child protection mechanism in the state, the Women and Child Development (WCD) department of the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to set up ‘Bal Mitra Gram’ or children-friendly villages.

For this purpose, the department on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF).

In collaboration with KSCF, the department has planned to set up around 100 children-friendly villages in 10 districts of the state in the first phase.

The idea behind setting up such villages is to make them free of child labour, besides protecting the children from other forms of exploitation, the WCD department said in an official note.

In a statement, KSCF said that ‘Bal Mitra Gram’ is a sustainable and holistic preventive programme for child protection and child-centric rural development, so that every child is safe, healthy and educted.

It further said that KSCF is currently reaching out to 600 villages, protecting around 1.5 lakh children, on a daily basis in several states, including Madhya Pradesh.

KSCF also said that it has converted 10 villages into children-friendly villages in the Ganj Basoda block under Vidisha district, which is the home district of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the founder of KSCF.

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