Meet Rajiv Khajuria, the champion of women, child rights

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Women, child rights have acquired a deep significance and are being widely spoken of in the recent years. The subject has taken the central stage as a result of the world waking up to the issues and rights of the women and children in distress. Government as well non-governmental organisations have come forward to take on the challenges of both the sections of society to relieve them of the stress.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Rajiv Kumar Khajuria has become a household name due to his strong commitment and deep rooted work in the field of child rights and women empowerment.

Heading the reputed and widely known Civil Society Organisaton National Development Foundation as Chief Functionary and later Founder Emeritus for nearly three decades, Rajiv Khajuria’s work in the field of child rights has been acknowledged by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, through his nomination to Selection-cum-Oversight Committee (SCOC) of the State on full time basis.

Starting his work in the field of Child Rights and Child Protection in 1992, Khajuria rendered his expert services to the children in the field of child rights protection, development, guidance and counseling, women rights, training and development, physio-social care, training and development.

Khajuria’s work won appreciation throughout the State when he took up the challenging task of reaching out to the children in distress belonging to the conflict hit and border affected areas of the Pir Panjal region resulting into the physical deformities of the children and women headed families.

Notwithstanding the risks to his personal life during long spell of terrorism, Khajuria reached out to the children and women hailing from the conflict hit areas and managed assistance for them to continue their education and sustenance besides protecting their rights.

Rajiv Khajuria managed to support 562 conflict and border affected families by providing them livelihood support. Out of which, 307 were women headed families. Thousands of orphan and vulnerable children were supported by Khajuria directly and indirectly which includes providing cash assistance to the children injured in conflict and border firing, educational support to orphan children, infra support to children in government run Bal Ashrams and Nari Niketans.

Khajuria has the honour of linking affected children to the scholarship schemes run by other institutions and social protection schemes of the government. He also through various vocational training programmes provided skill trainings to marginalised women to raise their dignity by making them earning member of the family.

Apart from this, Khajuria also worked on WASH, Education, health and other rights of the children and women.

During emergencies in the State, Khajuria responded to the needs of children and women particularly and established child friendly spaces, toilet facilities apart from other immediate and long term response.

Under the aegis of National Development Foundation, Khajuria organized rallies, camps, workshops and tours of the children and youth to strengthen the national integration, communal harmony, skill development and competitive sense all over the state which helped in a massive way to strongly bind the communities, religious entities and ethnic groups during the difficult times of terrorism.

Khajuria’s vision became so vast that a decade before the concept of village level Child Protection Committies came into existence when NDF became the first organisation to technically support government in ordering such committies providing a child protection mechanism. This organisation has set up such committees in various affected villages and in district committees headed by the District Development Commissioners. Government of Jammu and Kashmir also acknowledged the contributions of the child rights missionary and acknowledged his valuable contributions in 2017 by nominating him as member to the State Selection-cum Oversight Committee (SCOC) established by the government for implementation of Juvenile Justice Act 2013. The first Selection-cum-Oversight Committee (SCOC) is headed by a retired High Court Judge.

The vision of this youth icon benefited the State committee as well. He, not only provided strength and experience to the SCOC but also lent his proactive help to establish the district level units of Juvenile Justice System. Rajiv Khajuria remained member of the Recruitment Committee which establishes child welfare committee, Juvenile Justice Boards and DCPUs all over the State.

With his experience, the Juvenile Justice system has effectively raised a safety net around the children. Versatile personality Khajuria also contributed in the field of journalism where again he highlighted the development issues.

Rajiv Khajuria has become an icon for the youth to follow.

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