Our Indian member, Butterflies, is supporting a new online petition which calls on governments in the region to respect a child’s right to a family. The campaign My Caring Family is My First Right  was launched in June by the 139 organisations of the South Asia Alliance of Grassroots NGOs (SAAGN).

It asks the Governments of India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka to make every effort to prevent the separation of children from their parents.

Butterflies Chief Executive Rita Panicker said: “We feel that the family remains the place where children’s rights can best be fulfilled and states have a responsibility to provide special protection and assistance to preserve this institution.

“They also have a duty of care to the millions of children who are separated from their families and who are left without adequate care .

“This campaign urges individuals, stakeholders, public institutions, civil society organisations and governments to recognise that growing up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding, is vital for every child’s well-being and development.”

Butterflies and other local NGOs held a drawing and photography workshop with children in Delhi to promote the launch of the campaign. Children were asked about how they perceive the notion of family. A photography session was also organised where many pictures were  taken of children with their families depicting the love and sense of warmth and security they feel when they are together.

An estimated 43 million girls and boys in South Asia are growing up without one or both of their parents due to the impact of poverty, disability, HIV/AIDS, armed conflict, natural disasters and migration. The petition’s signatures will be presented to government representatives who will gather at a SAAGN International conference being held in Kathmandu at the end of August 2013.